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Exercise Doesn't Boost Fat-Burning, After All,

Exercise Doesn't Boost Fat Burning After All

Eating well and exercising regularly work together to promote overall health, but when it comes to weight management, the two factors do not act equally. Consuming fewer calories for weight loss is old news, and a recent study suggests exercise is less influential at burning fat than previously thought.

The new research, involving 65 exercisers with controlled diets, disproves the notion that exercise boosts fat burning up to 24 hours after working out. It found that participants burned more fat during exercise, but that postexercise they didn't burn any more fat than the days they sat on the couch. Exercise physiologist Edward Melanson explains, "If you exercise and replace the calories you burn, you’re no better — with regard to how much fat you burn off — than if you didn’t exercise."

To find out the bottom line behind weight loss,


Melanson asserts that while it's harder to lose weight through exercise than diet, the benefits of working out should not be discounted. MSNBC summarizes Melanson's logic perfectly with this comment: "That’s not surprising when you consider that it might take an hour to burn 400 calories but just five minutes to consume them." When you're weighing in on weight management, it's all about calories in versus calories out.

The scale might not care whether you're tweaking your diet or working out more, but keep in mind the many virtues of exercise outside of weight issues. Reconnect with the countless other reasons to exercise, and stay fit!


Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 8 years
it's always been 80% diet and 20% exercise in my mind! i work out daily but also eat an extremely clean diet - doing both is key for sure!
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
I mean, yeah, doing cardio for 30 minutes isn't going to have the afterburn like lifting weights for 30 minutes would. That is old news. But if you're hungry after a workout, so what? Eat a carb with some fat (good fat!)/protein. You will not turn into a fat ass because you ate after you worked out. I mean, if you're looking to lose fat, adjust your cals, and do exercise to help your metabolism, which will help melt the fat off. some cases, some people need to eat their calories back to stop their bodies from shutting down. It depends on the person. The benefit is not lost because you eat your calories back. In some cases, if you are under what you need to eat because exercise put you at a larger deficit, that is still unhealthy, and you still need the calories as fuel. Everyone is different.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
Weren't we told (on this site) a while ago that post-exercise calorie burn is only something like 20 calories per hour of exercise ANYWAY?! I mean, this isn't exactly new news. This article isn't saying SIT ON THE COUCH it is saying don't pig out in the hour following your workout because your fat-burning basically stops right after you finish exercising. I bet some people go home and pig out thinking they are still burning fat when they really aren't.
nia0nia nia0nia 8 years
yes, i agree chatnoir and everyone else who found this article misleading, inaccurate and discouraging. were you having a mean-spirited day Fit? It just doesn't seem like you at all. How about a new article on this study?
chatnoir chatnoir 8 years
Anyone can do a 'study' and skew it to how they want it to turn out. The benefits of exercise are greater than just fat burning. An article like this doesn't give enough details of the study and is discouraging.
cloroxcowgirl cloroxcowgirl 8 years
This is an interesting article. For me, I notice a more of a difference if I'm exercising regularly vs. watching my diet (if it's one or the other). But I agree, the combination of the two really works best for weight loss.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
This article is about burning fat. Fat is stored excess calories. Naturally, if a person wants to lose fat, he or she has to burn more calories than what's consumed so that the body would tap the fat reserves. Calories consumption is an important factor here (as well as the burning of them). Specifically, calorie consumption must be less than calories burned. Also, I agree -- building muscle will help with the burning of calories. Once the desired weight (or fat ratio) is achieved, the eating and exercise routines should be changed for maintenance.
darc5204 darc5204 8 years
This article needs to be more carefully written! Exercise still burns plenty of calories while you do it. As nia0nia said, this study only suggests that exercise doesn't make you burn extra fat while you're sitting on the couch. Also, I highly suggest that people take a look at the actual study. It only looks at cycling, and everyone is on the same controlled diet. Finally, the researchers do state that building muscle does burn more calories all the time, but it's not a big effect.
nia0nia nia0nia 8 years
is there anything new in this? what you're saying is that you burn extra fat during excercise and not when you're not excercising - did anyone ever think differently? lets not get so excited! Eat healthy , move daily and we'll all be fine
Ava-Gardner Ava-Gardner 8 years
There's also no one size fits all, we're entering the days of personal genomics. No matter how much excercise i do, weights/spin etc it doesn't affect my weight at all, I now have to semi starve to stay slim but I do carry the obesity gene and used to be 45lbs heavier so for now, I'll keep up the good fight, but it's getting tougher and tougher.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
What?! Well no wonder I can't lose any more weight, even though I've worked up from walking to half-jogging in my cardio workout. I knew something was fishy about this "you only need diet/exercise" to lose weight. I don't eat badly or a lot, and I work out, and I still can't lose weight. Guess that means sugery's the only way to actually get it done - most of the people that I know that have had significant weight loss [like more than 50 lbs] had to get gastric surgeries to get there...maybe they're right. This really is disappointing.
FionaF FionaF 8 years
I feel cheated!! I diet and I workout a lot thinking that this is helping me to burn more fat and calories.
La-Tua-Cantante La-Tua-Cantante 8 years
Kclulu you are completely right
Leesamurmur Leesamurmur 8 years
Fit, I'm disappointed. You should have focused more on the benefits of exercise rather than making a blanket statement based on one survery. I think too many people will just go "oh, wait, I don't have to work at it anymore" and go sit on the couch. Exercise does so many other wonderful things - including keeping you from being "fat skinny," if you want to talk about weight loss. Also, a pound of muscle burns considerably more than a pound of fat, and things like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and weight lifting are proven to provide an afterburn. So yes, I think that exercise has a major impact on fat-burning and weight loss. My guess is that the study was simply over steady-state, run-at-6mph-for-an-hour exercise. I hate generalizations.
jueycruiser jueycruiser 8 years
This is a really discouraging article. I think it is important to point out that diet and exercise together work, because exercise suppresses appetite, and while you are reducing your calories in, exercise raises your metabolism so you are able to actually burn the calories instead of the normal "starvation mode" conservation of calories. The article says, "The new paper offers additional evidence that exercise does not boost metabolism as much as widely believed". The whole point of this article is basically you can't work out and eat like crap and expect to lose weight, NOT that exercise is pointless!
merfie23 merfie23 8 years
One rarely works without the other! I feel much better about indulging every now and then knowing I work out regularly. Some days I may brake even, that's OK too. The benefits of exercise are so huge and go so far beyond looking hot. From thyroid function to preventing Alzheimer's...
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I'm with can't eat whatever you want just because you work out. I work out a lot and I make sure to eat enough to fuel my workouts, but I don't entitle myself to eat anything and everything just because I work out. I have friends who work out for 45 minutes on the treadmill and then go out and have a few beers and some pizza...and PRESTO! Your workout just went out the window, lol.
TammyO TammyO 8 years
There goes my formula for running then tons of peanut butter comsumption. Out the window.
kclulu kclulu 8 years
My experience is that diet and exercise are always the most beneficial when they are used in conjunction with one another. If I am consistently exercising then I am more likely to want to eat healtheir meals because I want to have the energy to exercise and coming home after a long workout and eating high fat foods just isnt appealing. If people are of the mindset that if they can exercise they can eat whatever they want, they were always fighting a losing battle. The problem is studies like this come out with a catchy headline, people read the first few setences or exerpts of the article and dont really read it to understand what it means. For this study it appears from the article that they only used low intensity and high intensity cycling as their form of exercise. They don't seem to mention weight lifting at all which builds more muscle than any cardio will, which could change their results. Data can be manipulated pretty easily to make it more appealing to the media so I am always pretty skeptical of headlines like this. Bottom line burn more calories than you consume and you will acheive your goals.
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