Exercise Lose Weight

Wait, but what? Exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight?!

Working out can greatly benefit your health, and you should definitely exercise regularly. However, for the purpose of losing weight, exercise actually isn’t the best option.

Exercise Lose WeightWhere do all the calories go?

First, let’s have a look at the way we burn energy (calories) during the day.

  1. Resting metabolism 70%
  2. Food breakdown 20%
  3. Physical activity 10%

The vast amount of energy burn comes from our resting metabolism. This means that most calories are burned by just sitting at your desk, watching tv, or sleeping in your bed.

The amount of energy burned to convert your food into more energy is the food breakdown. This is where the saying “Cucumbers burn more calories than they give you” comes from, a statement which is actually true (Lifehacker). But of course, with most food burn, you store more energy than it costs to convert your food into power.

We’re then left with the remaining 10-30% of your energy burn. This is the only 30% of your calories that you have control over. So your impact will never be very immense.

In a study by Eurest that looked at a man of 95kg who ran 1 hour per day, 4 days a week, for a month, it was estimated that he would lose only 2,5kg if everything remained the same. But of course it doesn’t stay the same. When you exercise, you become hungrier and therefore end up eating more. If you exercise in the morning, you may slow down in the afternoon. And with these behaviours taken into account, exercise for weight loss doesn’t seem to be the best way to go.

So, what should you be doing?

The flip-side is that you have 100% control over the calories that you take in. You can choose to eat more or less (although it often doesn’t feel like a conscious choice to me). And you can easily take in 10-30% less (or more) calories per day.

At the end of the day, a combination is always best. Getting exercise is the single best thing to do for your health and it still burns calories. When you combine it with eating healthy, you get the best of both worlds.

Also, check out this great explanation by Vox:


Wondering how you can compliment your exercise regime? Check out which of the Queal diet types would be best for you!

Floris Wolswijk

MSc in Industrial & Organisational Psychology. Floris has started two companies before. In his student life, he was President of his Study Association and Director of a Student Strategy Consultancy. He participates in obstacle runs and has energy for two. Getting the right things done is what he gets up for in the morning.

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