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Workout during weight reduction – how essential is it?

For many years, exercise was pointed out as the only remedy for overweight. The proclaimed principle was straightforward. To lose weight and lose a few centimeters in the waist, you need to give yourself a hard time at the gym. Therefore, people struggling with the problem of excess weight often forced themselves to hard physical training. Interestingly, the effects were not always visible. It was not until later that it was understood that a calorie deficit was the key to weight reduction. Only it can force the body to get rid of fat accumulated over the years gradually. Does it mean that physical exercises are useless then? Or maybe regular training is essential after all?

What is a calorie deficit, and how to calculate it?

The body needs a certain number of calories to function correctly. To define it, nutritionists use two terms – BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) or primary caloric demand. It means the exact number of calories necessary for the body to maintain all vital functions without interruption. A diet with a lower caloric intake in the long term can be downright dangerous. That is why BMR is the first important indicator for every athlete.

Apart from it, there is also a second concept. It is AMR (Active Metabolic Rate) or simply daily caloric demand. In this calculation, the calories that the body burns daily are added to the basic BMR. This is why in all daily calorie demand calculators, the user has to specify their workouts’ intensity and frequency. This is necessary because an athlete who trains every day will need more calories than someone of the same weight who does not exercise.

The daily calorie requirement (AMR) is the starting point for further calculations. It is a specific value that depends on, among other things: height, weight, gender, age, and activity. Therefore, each person should calculate it individually. The obtained result should be compared with the number of calories supplied daily through food. Here three scenarios are possible:
– A caloric deficit occurs when the number of calories consumed is lower than the daily AMR;
– A caloric surplus refers to the opposite situation when the number of calories consumed exceeds the body’s requirements;
– Caloric optimum, on the other hand, is when the number of calories consumed and AMR are equal values.

How can a caloric deficit be achieved?

It is already known that a caloric deficit means a reduced number of calories consumed about the individual AMR. Therefore, at this point, it is worth moving on to the next important issue, i.e., how to achieve such a deficit.

Any healthy person can achieve a caloric deficit in two ways. The first would be to reduce one’s daily caloric balance. This can be done by reducing the meals you eat and eliminating mainly caloric foods from your diet. The second way, on the other hand, is to increase your daily AMR. In this case, the only alternative will be to exercise more often or do other activities that cause increased calorie burning. For better results, you can also experiment with the intensity of such training.

Of course, the best results are obtained by combining these two steps. Severely overweight individuals should both reduce their daily caloric balance and increase the required AMR. Such synergy will allow for very useful weight loss and accelerate the process of losing weight. For many people, this will be the best possible solution.

Is exercise important during weight loss?

However, some people may go on the assumption that merely restricting calorie intake enables weight reduction. On the one hand, this is true because a restrictive diet leads to a caloric deficit. On the other hand, it is essential to remember that exercise does make weight loss easier. Just look at how many calories you can burn during them.

Increasing the number of calories burned (AMR) makes it possible to achieve a calorie deficit even without a very restrictive diet. To illustrate this statement, look at the calculations for calories burned during certain activities:

– walking – about 400 calories per hour*;
– Swimming – about 500-700 calories per hour*;
– playing basketball – about 520 calories per hour*;
– intense strength training – about 550 calories per hour*;
– light jogging – about 700 calories per hour*;
– skipping – about 1,000 calories per hour*;
– running (at speeds above 10 km/h) – more than 1100 calories per hour*;

*All calculations shown are averages for men weighing about 90 kilograms.

Based on these data, it is clear that physical activity increases daily AMR. Of course, aerobic exercise – jogging, jumping rope, or running – gives the best results in this regard. If you want to lose weight fast, it’s worth including such activity in your training schedule.

Summary

Is it possible to lose weight without exercising? Absolutely. However, you have to be aware that it will not be easy. The only solution is a rigorous diet leading to a calorie deficit. However, such a deficit can be induced much faster and easier through physical exercise. What is essential, exercise alone, without keeping track of calorie balance, will not be sufficient. The best results will be provided by slightly more intensive training combined with a properly selected diet. When these two conditions are met, achieving a calorie deficit is easier. This, in turn, will result in faster weight loss.

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