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I don’t have to tell you that eating less food and getting regular exercise helps sheds pounds, but research shows that when it comes to losing weight effectively (i.e body fat) diet and exercise are most successful done together rather than either strategy alone… But why?  

Firstly, a decrease in calories is necessary for losing the pounds (diet), but to improve your overall body composition, health, quality of life, and prevent diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, exercise is necessary (specifically resistance training and high-intensity interval training) and should be not be left out.

Exercise Alone

If you are only focusing on exercise training alone to decrease your weight (without caloric restrictions) then you may expect to lose approximately ~2kg, although this number varies widely between individuals.

So how much exercise would you need to carry out to lose weight?

Current recommendations for amounts of physical activity are:

  • Maintaining and improving health: 150 min/week
  • Prevention of weight gain: 150-200 min/week
  • Promote clinically significant weight loss (4.5kg): 225-420 min/week
  • Prevention of weight gain after weight loss: 200-300 min/week

However, exercising alone is less effective in the short and long term compared to combining both diet and exercise.

Diet Alone

Who hasn’t dieted, succeeded and then 12 months down the line are back where they started and has signed up to try and lose those pounds that silently crept back on again?

This may be because keeping in a continuous energy deficit (i.e. eating fewer calories than your required daily amount) is not an easy feat. So, although quick weight loss can reduce the health risks associated with being overweight or obese, it is not sustainable.

Studies show that short term diets (6 months) are as successful as combining diet and exercise together, but show that maintaining weight loss after this 6 month period is challenging. This suggests that the addition of exercise to your diet may be more beneficial for the maintenance of weight loss.

What is the healthiest and most enjoyable way to lose weight effectively?

  • First you need to find out what your basal metabolic rate is (come down to the gym and someone at Faultless Fitness would be happy to help you with).
  • We can then create a negative energy balance of approximately 10% or around 500kcal/day
  • Additionally, we can advise you or set you up with your own diet plan that will help you to lose 1-2lbs of excess weight a week. A safe and realistic goal for weight loss.
  • TOP TIP: The most effective studies found that individuals who lost the most weight, write a food journal or kept track of their food in an app, prepared meals at home, and ate out less.

Diet and Exercise Combined

As you can probably tell, by combining diet and exercise you will achieve the greatest result in terms of weight loss and maintenance, as well as a bunch of health improvements.

Research clearly shows in the long term (>12months), weight loss is greatest in combination, and more beneficial than either diet only or exercise only. Studies found a 3.02kg greater weight loss when combining diet and exercise at 12 months than compared with dieting or exercising alone.

If this is something that interests you, and you would like some more help and advice, drop us an email! Ask any questions you may have on nutrition, diet, health or fitness. 

Swift, D.L. et al. (2013) The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance
Ross, R. et al. (2000) Reduction in obesity and related comorbid conditions after diet-induced weight loss or exercise-induced weight loss in men. A randomized, controlled trial.
Clark, J.E. (2015) Diet, exercise or diet with exercise: comparing the effectiveness of treatment options for weight-loss and changes in fitness for adults (18–65 years old) who are overfat, or obese; systematic review and meta-analysis.
Johns, D.J. et al (2014) Diet or Exercise Interventions vs Combined Behavioral Weight Management Programs: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Direct Comparisons

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