Weight Loss Support - Exercise: frequency, intensity, choice and how it relates to weight loss




sacha
08-24-2011, 12:32 PM
I have to admit, I'm a little perturbed at some comments I've read on here in the past few weeks.

Over and over again, people are being told "you don't exercise enough, you need to do it more days (often amounting to 6 days or even daily), x minutes is not enough at your size, exercise only tones you and does not help you lose weight, etc" - no, not one particular comment, but several different.

I suppose these comments come from the perspective ("this worked for me, so it must work for you").

Ladies, ALL exercise counts, and all exercise/activity/movement helps create a calorie deficit. Calorie deficits contribute to weight loss - whether it's a minor or major contribution.

I feel that women have been shooting down other women as not doing it "good enough" for weight loss or other goals. Here's the truth - whether you are walking 45 minutes to work or in a power lifting competition, you are helping to create a calorie deficit (whether or not you eat back those calories is your choice to make, but the deficit has been created).

WHY are people being so discouraging? We should encourage exercise and congratulate those for their efforts. I don't think many of us came to 3FC because we were just too fit. We came here because we probably ate too much and did too little. So some work out 7 days, some 3 days, some 1 day. Bottom line, they should all be praised for it.

Me, I exercise 3x per week for 1 hour. If you think that it's not significant, then please squat 130lbs, bench 90lbs, and deadlift 200lbs over the course of an hour and tell me again how you feel. That's right - frequency, intensity, and choice of exercise is very very subjective. So don't write people off for their efforts if you do not truly understand what they are doing!

Congrats to all those who exercised today, or plan to this week or month. In whatever you choose to do! :carrot:


4myloves
08-24-2011, 12:55 PM
:cp:

NEMom
08-24-2011, 01:07 PM
Thank you for speaking up! I hope I have not made anyone fell bad and if I have I am so sorry.!!!


Emme
08-24-2011, 01:15 PM
Yay! Great post. Some people think it's their way or it's no way, and that's just not true. Exercise does create a calorie deficit (whether it's 20 calories or 200 calories), and everyone is different as far as what they do for exercise and how it affects them.

I love people who say that you have to work out for at least an hour and at least 5-6 times a week in order to lose weight and for it to "count"...really?! Not according to my over 100 pounds lost. I worked out between 3-5 times a week (depending on the week) and for no more than 45 minutes at a time.

Expunge
08-24-2011, 01:17 PM
Totally agreed! :)

Rana
08-24-2011, 01:47 PM
Personally, I'm in the camp that exercise is good for many things, but it's not THE thing that will make you lose weight.... it's what you're eating.

As someone here on 3FC says, "you can't out-exercise poor eating habits."

zoodoo613
08-24-2011, 01:54 PM
Thank you! And congrats to you to!

indiblue
08-24-2011, 01:58 PM
On a slightly related note, I think the one-upmanship or the pressure to work out all the time has manifested itself (at times) in unhealthy ways. I have seen several times people post that they spend "hours" at the gym every day, or most days, or that they feel they are "literally addicted to exercise."

These comments are usually applauded with a "great discipline!" or "good for you!"

I'm really concerned when I see someone is spending hours at the gym most days of the week. I am not here to diagnose disordered behavior, but to me spending multiple hours at the gym every day, going to the gym twice a day most days, etc is not disciplined, it's a potential warning sign, just like not eating enough, or binge behavior.

Again, I am NOT qualified and do NOT know enough about other posters' personal situations to say one way or another. But since this topic was raised,as someone who had close relatives and friends struggle with body image and weight struggles of various sorts growing up, I felt compelled to say something.

MariaMaria
08-24-2011, 05:36 PM
On a slightly related note, I think the one-upmanship or the pressure to work out all the time has manifested itself (at times) in unhealthy ways. I have seen several times people post that they spend "hours" at the gym every day, or most days, or that they feel they are "literally addicted to exercise."

These comments are usually applauded with a "great discipline!" or "good for you!"

I'm really concerned when I see someone is spending hours at the gym most days of the week. I am not here to diagnose disordered behavior, but to me spending multiple hours at the gym every day, going to the gym twice a day most days, etc is not disciplined, it's a potential warning sign, just like not eating enough, or binge behavior.


YES.

Lovely
08-24-2011, 05:53 PM
I completely agree that any activity is good for us :yes:

I began back in April walking for five minutes a day on a treadmill. Five. Minutes. Dead serious. And, yet, succeeding at walking for five minutes a day gave me the boost to add up to more. I'm almost at my 30-35 minutes a day goal for walking. By the new year I hope to build up to that.

Even if my goal were still only five minutes a day... five minutes is a lot more than the zero I used to get.

However, it all depends on our individual goals. As said, perspective matters. Where as someone wanting to run a marathon might need to do more than I'm doing, someone who just wants to add in activity to their day and burn a few calories... everything counts!

runningfromfat
08-24-2011, 05:57 PM
Great post and I've been having some of those same thoughts myself. For the past few weeks I've been sick and have been able to exercise very, very little (and I have similar workout regime to you, lifting 3x a week for about an hour). I was so scared that I was going to regain some weight but in the end I lost over 5lbs! :carrot:

I definitely plan on getting back to exercise once I'm able to because I think it's extremely important for my health and the body shape that I want BUT I can still lose weight without it (not something I always really accepted/understood earlier in life).

I actually saw a nutritionist yesterday. She gave me some great diet advice and helped me tweak some of my problem areas but then she told me that I HAD to workout 3x per week, 40 min each time and that it should be cardio. :dz: I just sort of smiled and nodded and ignored it. I don't mind adding in more cardio to my current routine but why would I give up weight lifting when it's worked so well for me?

QuilterInVA
08-24-2011, 06:21 PM
Sorry but you are wrong. Exercise is not just to make a calorie deficient. It also helps to build muscle which takes fewer calories to maintain and keeps you strong, expecially as you get older. And the scientific rule is at least one hour for weight loss and 30 minutes for health. Yes, all movement is good, but if it doesn't raise your heart rate for a sustained time, it's not giving you healthy benefits.

sacha
08-24-2011, 06:40 PM
Sorry but you are wrong. Exercise is not just to make a calorie deficient. It also helps to build muscle which takes fewer calories to maintain and keeps you strong, expecially as you get older. And the scientific rule is at least one hour for weight loss and 30 minutes for health. Yes, all movement is good, but if it doesn't raise your heart rate for a sustained time, it's not giving you healthy benefits.

What scientific rule? What is your source? WHY do you continue to dog down on posters here, over and over again, that their efforts are not good enough for weight loss? This is especially disturbing to the vulnerable and desperate new 3FC'ers who are SO PROUD of their lifestyle change and efforts in the gym. Who are you to say that it is a "scientific rule" that unless they work out for at least 1 hour and 6 days a week (as per your other posts) that they aren't doing good enough?

Please, enlighten the rest of us with this scientific source that states that calorie deficits created by exercise cannot result in weight loss unless you have exercised for at least an hour.

I guess Rippetoe, Lyle MacDonald, Alan Aragon, Cassandra Forsythe, Leigh Peele, Layne Norton,are all full of it. You don't to remind me that exercise builds muscle - I've been powerlifting for years.

April Snow
08-24-2011, 07:00 PM
Personally, I'm in the camp that exercise is good for many things, but it's not THE thing that will make you lose weight.... it's what you're eating.

As someone here on 3FC says, "you can't out-exercise poor eating habits."

yes.

Even if my goal were still only five minutes a day... five minutes is a lot more than the zero I used to get.

and yes.

Activity is good for lots of reasons, and for most people, as you get smaller, it becomes more fun so even if you start small, you are giving yourself the foundation to keep adding additional activities to your life. But movement alone will not get the weight off.

sacha
08-24-2011, 07:02 PM
Absolutely agreed that movement alone will not get the weight off, but any calorie deficit contributes to weight loss. It kills me that people are being told that their 40 minute hikes, 60 minute cardio sessions 3x a week, or 4x per week weights sessions contribute nothing to weight loss - this is absolutely untrue. They are creating calorie deficits to assist with weight loss. Whether it is a small deficit (ie. 100-200 calories) or bigger deficit (400-500), it is still a deficit.

And most of all, an effort that should be praised and encouraged, not shot down.

CherryPie99
08-24-2011, 07:12 PM
This was a top story on Good Morning America this week:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/15-minutes-exercise-day-adds-years-life/story?id=14307995

From the first line of the story: A little exercise goes a long way, a new study suggests. So little that 15 minutes of it per day reduces one's risk of cancer and adds an average of three years to a person's life.

April Snow
08-24-2011, 07:31 PM
Absolutely agreed that movement alone will not get the weight off, but any calorie deficit contributes to weight loss. It kills me that people are being told that their 40 minute hikes, 60 minute cardio sessions 3x a week, or 4x per week weights sessions contribute nothing to weight loss - this is absolutely untrue. They are creating calorie deficits to assist with weight loss. Whether it is a small deficit (ie. 100-200 calories) or bigger deficit (400-500), it is still a deficit.

And most of all, an effort that should be praised and encouraged, not shot down.



I totally agree that all activity should be encouraged and praised and that it has an overall beneficial impact on your health and in the comfort of your body. But in terms of weight loss, it's still a pretty limited impact. You can exercise for an hour to burn 200 calories, but you can eat 200 calories worth of food in just a few bites. So in that sense, it's even MORE wrong to chastise someone and say that they HAVE to work out for an hour six days a week - that effort still won't result in weight loss if you don't keep your food in check.

lin43
08-24-2011, 07:39 PM
Absolutely agreed that movement alone will not get the weight off, but any calorie deficit contributes to weight loss. It kills me that people are being told that their 40 minute hikes, 60 minute cardio sessions 3x a week, or 4x per week weights sessions contribute nothing to weight loss - this is absolutely untrue. They are creating calorie deficits to assist with weight loss. Whether it is a small deficit (ie. 100-200 calories) or bigger deficit (400-500), it is still a deficit.

And most of all, an effort that should be praised and encouraged, not shot down.


I agree --- except that there have been some studies that suggest that exercise has a very limited impact on weight loss. April Snow gave one reason (i.e., it's all too easy to eat back the burned exercise calories), and another theory I've heard is that we compensate for the extra energy expended during formal exercise by inadvertently using less energy the rest of the day.

Also, I think that people frequently overestimate the # of calories they burn during exercise. They often do not account for the calories they would have burned anyway if they were just sitting. So, for example, today I rode my bike for 30 minutes, and according to a calculator online, I burned about 130 calories. However, had I just been sitting, I would have burned about 30 calories anyway. So, I burned a "net" of 100 calories. That's still 100 calories and nothing to sneeze at, but according to some theories I've seen, that bike ride may have made me hungrier so that I may want an apple as a snack; there's the 100 calories I burned.

Nevertheless, for health reasons, it has been proven time and time again that exercise benefits us all. That's why I do it. I often see people who are in their 60s, 70s, and above who are really overweight and have a hard time walking. I don't want that to be me, and I think staying fit will [I hope] help with that.

sacha
08-24-2011, 07:54 PM
Agreed with you all 100% who say that it often has a minimal impact, for sure. And that many people overestimate their calorie burn in exercise while overestimating their calorie deficit when eating.

What irks me is people being told that what they do has NO contribution to weight loss. How sad is it, that girls come to 3FC and are excited to say that they are working out 2-4x a week, a major lifestyle change for the majority, and to be told "Sorry........... not good enough. It makes no difference". If that girl is burning say, 200 calories each workout (which is a reasonable calorie burn), 4x a week, that is an 800 calorie deficit for the week, and a 3200 calorie deficit for the month. Huge impact? Maybe not, but not worth shooting down at all and being told that it had no merit.

yoyoma
08-24-2011, 08:45 PM
Aside from the health benefits of any exercise (which alone should be enough!) and the possible increase in rate of weight loss (assuming the calories aren't offset), there are still other reasons for exercising while losing weight (or even when not losing weight!).

One is appearance. Toned muscles look much better than flabby ones and you simply get a much better result appearance-wise for the same weight. I have personal experience with this... the last time I reached goal weight, I wasn't too happy with my appearance and it was quite demotivating to do the hard work of maintenance. This time, I have put a lot more time into exercise and I'm a lot more pleased with the result and more motivated to maintain.

Another is mental well being. Exercise releases dopamine and helps us feel good. We know that depression is associated with weight gain and that exercise is highly associated with successful long term maintenance.

I guess I might as well throw in the obvious fact that exercise raises your physical ability. Should you ever need to lift things around the house, get around without a car, or live independently as an elder, exercise is important!

doopdoop
08-24-2011, 09:17 PM
People who assume that exercising less than an hour a day will not yield results are seriously nearsighted. No, the weight will not melt off the way it will if you push yourself to exhaustion after a long day of work/school, but I've lost 5-6 lbs a month by exercising ~4-5 times a week for 30 minutes, and when I don't do that 30 minutes, I stall out for months.

I don't understand why people feel it necessary to see all things related to weight loss in black and white terms when your body clearly does not function on those extremely specific parameters.

JessLess
08-24-2011, 09:52 PM
This is just my personal experience.

When I started my journey I ONLY started with exercise because I was losing a lot of stamina and mobility and it scared me. I lifted weights 2x a week for 45 minutes from 12/09-4/10 and lost 0 lbs.

Then I started calorie counting and working out 3x a week for 60 minutes (half weights/half cardio) and it has made a huge difference. Also, when I exercise I drink all my water. So it's one part of what is working for me. It also makes me feel a lot better.

LeslieB
08-24-2011, 10:06 PM
Here is an interesting article that talks about how much/how often as well as other benefits of exercise: http://www.fitness.gov/exerciseweight.html

I got this from there:

Experts recommend that you do some form of aerobic exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of 20 continuous minutes. Of course, if that is too much, start with a shorter time span and gradually build up to the minimum. Then gradually progress until you are able to work aerobically for 20-40 minutes. If you need to lose a large amount of weight, you may want to do your aerobic workout five times a week.

We all start from different places in our lives with different issues so for someone to tell us what is best based on their own experience is ludicrous. Not only is it incredibly rude but also incredibly nearsighted. It's up to each and every one of us to find what works for us physically and mentally.

saef
08-24-2011, 11:16 PM
Another is mental well being. Exercise releases dopamine and helps us feel good. We know that depression is associated with weight gain and that exercise is highly associated with successful long term maintenance.

Nothing helps me release stress quite as well as the gym. It clears my head and puts me in a completely different mood.

I am sure that my own exercise routine has a compulsive edge to it -- I have the right psychological profile and the eating disorder background -- and I struggle with this at times. I would not wish this demon on anyone else, and perhaps as a consequence, I would never dream of advising anyone else on frequency or duration of exercise. I also feel it's not my place because I'm not a professional. The professionals whom I read (and take classes with at my gym) sometimes give conflicting advice. (Tracy Anderson Method vs. Lift Heavy School.) I figure one's exercise routine is like one's way of eating, and one must cobble out a routine according to one's needs, aspiration and of course, schedule and access to trainers, equipment, facilities -- or lack thereof. Recommendations about exercise given by authorities eerily echo the changing nutritional advice epitomized by the food pyramid (which isn't a pyramid anymore).

This is a long way of saying: Everyone should be free to make choices, and my choices may not be necessarily the right ones for someone else.

claire0412
08-25-2011, 05:03 AM
I try to do some form of exercise every day, whether it be HIIT training, running training for a race, hiking, a gentle walk, cycling to work or a quick swim. Most of the exercise I do isn't to lose weight, it is because I enjoy it and I enjoy the feeling of tired muscles afterwards. I find healthy eating so much easier if I have exercised that day, because I feel like I should keep up my good work. It doesn't matter how often / where / at what intensity you exercise, as long as you are proud of your achievements and are gaining fitness, you'll get that benefit.

I agree that we should all stop trying to tell people what they are doing is wrong. We all work with what we have and what we enjoy, and if it works for us then it is nobody else's business.

Esofia
08-25-2011, 06:09 AM
The people here are mostly lovely, but I do get very fed up with the repeated comments about how it's impossible to lose weight without exercise, and the disapproving attitutes towards people who don't exercise. I know those of us who can't exercise for medical reasons are rare, but we still exist.

JayEll
08-25-2011, 08:15 AM
First, do a search on "exercise bulimia." You may be surprised to find out that compulsive exercise is part of eating disorder behavior.

Second, consider that on some weight loss programs it is not necessary to begin weight loss by jumping into the gym. In fact, some programs caution people about overexercising, especially when they begin the program.

And finally, although I think it's really important to get physically active, I think it's also important to think about what you want your life to be like when you get to maintenance. Do you really want to be in the gym 5+ days a week just to maintain your weight? Do you really have to become a triathlete or marathoner or bodybuilder? What does the rest of your life look like, once you reach your goal? Is life really about increasing the load on your weightlifting? If that's what you want, OK--but don't think you're doing it because you "have" to.

Jay

Expunge
08-25-2011, 10:55 AM
http://blogs.plos.org/obesitypanacea/ This site is pretty cool - it's run by actual obesity researchers and one of the bloggers is an exercise physiologist. It discusses a wide range of subjects and there are some articles about how exercise relates both to obesity and health.

For myself, I'm trying to incorporate a moderate amount of exercise (for fitness) with improving my diet - the result is a very slow but steady weight loss. I made the decision not to exercise to the point of discomfort or restrict my diet completely, so obviously I could lose weight much more quickly - but for *me*, this is more comfortable and sustainable.

zoodoo613
08-25-2011, 11:31 AM
Edited to remove compulsive over-sharing.



They should have a button for this. I should use it all the time. :lol:

Gale02
08-25-2011, 11:39 AM
:bravo: Sacha!

Beach Patrol
08-25-2011, 11:45 AM
I've exercised on/off since school days. Recess in grade school, the PE class from 6th-12th grades, then I discovered weight lifting in college, got heavily into swimming since I was a lifeguard, and hiking since my at-the-time boyfriend did a lot of that.

I think exercise definitely CAN create a type of calorie deficit, but I still say you cannot out-exercise bad eating habits. After all, I was a very chubby kid until I reached age 12, and I played outside all the time... riding my bike, climbing trees, etc. So obviously all that "physical activity" didn't prevent me from being chubby little me.

But during college, weight lifting, swimming, going out to the clubs & dancing every weekend for hours - and I ate like CRAP (like college students often do!) with all the Taco Bell & fast food & mac & cheese & Chef Boy-R-D ravioli... still, 115-120 lb and quite healthy, TYVM. :D

During my mid 20's/early 30's is when I really started gaining weight & yo-yo dieting. I could exercise (walking or gym/weight lifting) and lose 5 or so pounds, but it was dieting that took off the most weight. And even when I continued exercising, if I started binge-eating again (which I did, time & time again) then I gained weight.

For some people, exercise is key. They cannot lose weight without it. For others, exercise is not key, they can diet & lose weight & be peachy keen with that.

I personally think it's best to USE DIET FOR WEIGHT LOSS and EXERCISE FOR FITNESS. Also - quite personally! - I do a weight lifting routine about 2x a week that is only 20 minutes. That's because I incorporate two exercises in one, such as doing squats while simultaneously doing arm curls, so it takes me less time to complete but I still get upper & lower body benefits.

During this crazy*** hot summer (& living in the extreme south) I enjoy a good swim, usually 30-45 minutes, sometimes an hour, depends on my mood (& whether or not there's a storm going on, LOL). I do not walk. It's just too damn hot FOR ME. When the weather is more agreeable, I do walk. And bike. But 3x a week is about all I care for. I'm not trying to win any contests here, not trying to be "Miss Exercise, USA" :dizzy: Just trying to feel my best, look my best, be "MY" best. Not anyone else's best.

Health benefits? You betcha! - my joints are moving better, I'm able to go up/down the stairs multiple times without breathing hard, and I can lift many things that some women claim they need a man for! :lol:

We're all here for support... advice... ideas... suggestions... shoulders.

And some people need to get off their soap box thinking "their way is the only way to do it right." And that's all I have to say about that. ;)

ChickieChicks
08-25-2011, 01:15 PM
I realize any energy output will burn calories, but FOR ME, it works to not "count" my excercise. It's more important to me that I just plain do it....whatever it is. Lots of excercise variety, as much as possible without feeling crazed about it.

Cut food calories to lose weight. Excercise to lose inches. I TOTALLY believe in this, b/c by excercising, I fit into a smaller size now than I ever did before at this weight! You can weigh more and be thinner.

FitGirlyGirl
08-25-2011, 01:34 PM
It is a very personal thing. Right now I am working out at some pretty intense levels (I do weights 3 times a week, zumba for at least 3 hours each week, I occasionally add in some other cardio, and am also currently doing P90X). I am not doing it to lose weight, I am doing it to be strong. Do I think it helps me lose weight? Yes. I do not think I would lose much, if anything, if I did not work out at all. That comes from a combination of things for me. I am good at not eating back the calories I burn. I burn A LOT of calories (I used to wear a body bugg and I know that on a really sedentary day, like sick in bed days, I burned around 1900, and I burned over 4,000 on some of my workout days). Exercising helps keep my mood up and helps to motivate me to eat properly. If I just spent 2 hours at the gym there is no way in the world I am going to eat a large greasy pizza. One good choice leads to another.

Yes, there are days that I spend 3 hours working out. Do I think that is an addiction? No, not in my case, but I do think that it can happen. Do I think that someone else's efforts are somehow less than mine if they spend 20 minutes or less each day? No! When I first started a 10 minute walk was a big deal for me. I would hate to see someone with no serious reason to not be able to workout whose final goal was something like 10 minutes, but if 10 minutes is where they are now then it is still better than none. They will never get to their final goals if they don't do what they can when they can. To tell them that their efforts are meaningless just because they do not fit someone else's ideal is both seriously wrong and disgustingly cruel.

HappilyMe
08-25-2011, 11:03 PM
There are definitely benefits to exercising, even just when it's just for 5 minutes a day. I think it also matters what you are doing during those short workouts.

Yes, you can burn 100 calories while doing cardio and reverse that burn with a small snack. You can also burn 100 calories by weight training but no snack is going to instantly reverse the good you've done during the workout such as enhancing muscle tone, strength and endurance, increasing metabolic efficiency and replacing fat with muscle.
This is probably why when you enter a gym its easy to tell who does mostly cardio and who is lifting weights or completing toning exercises.

Cut food calories to lose weight. Exercise to lose inches.I TOTALLY believe in this, b/c by exercising, I fit into a smaller size now than I ever did before at this weight! You can weigh more and be thinner.

So true! This summer I decided to construct my workouts with 80% strength training and 20% cardio. I am down several sizes however, I've gained 8-9lbs! I now care less about the scale and more about how I look and feel. I've had more success focusing on effective workouts than I've had with any diet-related plan.

The main thing is everyone's body is different so also I think it's a little ignorant to say that someone can only lose weight or get into shape by doing xyz. For me, I strength train (only for 15-30 minutes, 4-5 days a week btw) so I can have more freedom with my food choices. That might work for some and might not work for others. It's all individual!