Misconceptions About Exercise & Weight Loss

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  • Exercise burns relatively few calories and therefore makes an insignificant contribution to changing the energy balance.
    • Even though total calories expended during exercise seems to be low, a negative energy balance of as little as 200 calories a day can result in weight loss over time.
      • For example: A 170 lb person decides to add one hour of tennis, three days a week to their schedule. Adding this will replace 1 hour of watching television.
        • Calories burned playing tennis = .045 calories a minute per pound of weight
          • So: 170 lbs X .045 X 60 minutes = 459 calories
        • Calories burned watching television = .008 calories a minute per pound of weight.
          • So: 170 lbs X .008 X 60 minutes = 81 calories
        • 459 calories - 81 calories = 378 more calories burned for each hour of tennis
    • Intense activity (anaerobic exercise) can burn fat hours afterward; 3 to 14 hours.
      • Anerobic activity can burn 9 times as much body fat for every calorie expended as compared to aerobic exercise (See HIIT)
  • An increase in physical activity will automatically result in an increase the amount of food eaten.
    • In lab tests, when moderate exercise is performed food intake either remains the same or decreases. At the same time, weight will decrease. With longer periods of sustained activity, food intake will increase in response to increase caloric expenditure. In this case, weight will remain the same if the diet is ad lib.
  • Exercise can be used to reduce fat from a specific area of the body (spot reduction).
    • Fat loss will occur in a preprogrammed proportion dependent upon genetics, sex, and hormonal levels.
      • Areas with the largest amount of fat, lose more fat although these areas will seem to be totally reduced last.
      • With adequate fat loss, muscular definition will be achieved in the peripheral and gradually toward the waist, hips, or thighs.
    • Exercise will help burn calories and maintain lean body weight, which can result in fat loss. Increases in muscle in specific areas can change the appearance of those areas, but will not result in specific loss of body fat.
    • If the muscle mass improvements out pace fat loss in a specific area, girth can be greater.
  • Sauna, steam baths, or sweat suits are effective for losing weight.
    • Any weight loss occurring in saunas or steam baths is fluid loss. These fluids will be replaced and the weight will come back.
  • Passive exercise machines can be used to reduce body weight.
    • Many machines exist that are electronically powered, which do the work for you. These types of machines won't assist in weight loss or fat reduction.
    • Also see Electrical Muscle Stimulation.


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