When it comes to weight loss, which is actually more important – diet or exercise ? For starters, both diet and exercise are vital for long term weight control, but practicality is one of the most important things when it comes to health/fitness. Of course we should all eat healthier and exercise everyday, but the biggest problem with weight loss isn’t diet or exercise, but actually many constraints in life such as energy, time, willpower and money. So with that in mind we will now see whether diet or exercise is more essential for weight loss:
When it comes to weight loss with just diet alone the most important principle is to be in a caloric deficit and there is no way around that. So remember to focus on a caloric deficit and make most of your calories (70%) come from healthy whole unprocessed foods. You’ll see instant results.
You can most certainly lose weight with diet alone, but without exercise a large portion of your weight loss will actually be from your muscle tissues instead of your fat cells. This is because exercising especially weight training stimulates the growth of muscle tissues, so losing weight while exercising means that you’ll mostly be burning fat. The biggest reason why losing muscle is extremely counter-productive when it comes to weight loss is because muscle tissue burns roughly around 7-10 calories per pound per day, compared to the 2-3 calories per pound per day for fat which means the more muscle you lose the lower your calories will need to go and the less food you will be able to eat to continue losing weight at a steady pace. This will often lead to a loss of motivation, where ultimately many individuals will just give up and go on a binge because they’ve deprived themselves for so long. By the end of it this always results in them being in even worse shape from when they started.
So when it comes to weight loss with just diet alone it really all depends on your goals. If you only need to lose a few pounds then dieting for a few weeks without exercise is fine, but if you know that you’re gonna be dieting for a few months then adding exercise to your weight loss routine is a must.
Generally weight loss is 75% diet and 25% exercise, what this suggests is that you can never out work a bad diet. So if you’re trying to lose weight with just exercise alone your results will be very inconsistent because some days you may eat in a caloric surplus and other days you may be eating in a caloric deficit.
For example eating a single chocolate bar (depending on the type/brand) will put you back 200-300 calories and trying to burn that many calories will take around 30-45 minutes on a cardio machine. Say if you’re eating 1000 calories over your maintenance, now imagine trying to burn that many calories back off in the gym… that would take more than 2 hours depending on how intense the cardio is, but the point here is it really isn’t worth your time, energy or effort, all just to maintain your weight and not even lose any. So when it comes to weight loss with just exercising alone you may get some results in the beginning, but it will never be consistent enough because “you can never out work a bad diet”.
To sum up if you had to choose one for weight loss then it would have to be diet, but try not to make it an either choice because for long term weight loss/overall good health, both diet and exercise is very important. If you have anymore questions about diet or exercise for weight loss then leave a comment below.