Weight loss is the primary motivation for exercise for most people. This is a big fugging problem because not losing weight is one of the main reasons why many people stop exercising (source):
Sure, you might lose some weight at the beginning but at some point, weight loss will stop. It always does (otherwise, you would…die). And what happens when the scale stops moving? Well, you go “godfuckingdammit what’s goin’ on here?” and you stop exercising because it no longer delivers the results for which you started to exercise in the first place.
The reason for this is your attitude toward exercise — you exercise to lose weight. If that’s the only reason you do it, it will always be this chore you have to do to lose weight. You are doomed with a capital You’re Fucked.
This is why many of the subjects in the above study reported discontinuing their exercise programs when weight loss was not forthcoming.
This is also why a European Union-wide survey found that a quarter of respondents thought that “unless physical activity resulted in weight loss, they were not really benefiting from it.”
Exercise is not a reliable tool for losing weight and this was demonstrated in a 2011 systematic review and meta-analysis:
Let’s take me as an example sitting at 99 kg or 218 lbs in the imperial system which, as Tom Segura once said, sucks a dead dog’s dick on a dusty driveway. Anyway. If I weight trained 4x/week for a total of 4 hours/week, I would burn around 1,800 kcal/week (based on metabolic equivalents). And that is assuming vigorous effort which most people don’t train with. Most people train with light intensity which would slash that number in half.
That is not enough to move the scale. To see the scale move, I would have to lift weights closer to 8 hours/week. My head hurts after writing this. Thank yew, no.
And even if I did lift weights 8 times/week, it still would not guarantee weight loss because, for some people, exercise can encourage compensatory mechanisms such as an increase in appetite or a decrease in other forms of movement (source). So I might end up eating more and moving less outside the gym.
So if you want to lose weight, making dietary changes is a lot more reliable than just exercising. It is far easier to cut 500 calories by making small dietary changes than it is to burn them off via exercise.
This brings me to the reason why you should exercise (weight lifting specifically) — because it is one of the best things you can do for your health:
I don’t lift weights to lose weight. I do it to get stronger, more muscular (or maintain muscle mass while dieting), and healthier. Also because being a keyboard warrior all day err day is as appealing as a visit to the proctologist.
Best of all, it fuels my motivation because I can see tangible improvements every week which is why all of my clients track their workouts…
…so that I could review their gym performance every week:
And when they see their strength going up, they want to keep going. Because results fuel motivation.
So please, please, please, stop exercising just to lose weight. The more you focus on calories burned, the more you are missing the forest for the trees. Train for muscle, strength, and health. Your diet should take care of the fat loss process.
And if you want to bypass all of the nonsensical weight loss information and avoid common beginner mistakes, apply for the 1:1 Coaching Program where my goal is to be at your side the entire way, helping you to avoid scams and pitfalls that most people fall into.
Originally published by me on Medium on August 23, 2023