Exercise Can Actually Make You Gain Weight -- Should We All Just Quit the Gym?

How many times have we all seen it? We begin a new diet and exercise plan and a couple of weeks later step on the scale to realize -- we've gained weight! It's enough to make you toss your gym card into the garbage disposal. "Ooohhhh, it's muscle weight," we all say, optimistically. But the real problem is that people tend to vastly overestimate how much working out they'll need to burn calories -- so they work out a bit and then stuff themselves guilt-free because they've "worked out." In fact, party-pooper experts say no one is going to lose weight on exercise alone -- you actually have to drastically cut calories too. But no one wants to eat a salad after an hour-long workout!

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I've done this myself. Worked out and then thought, "Well, now I can have that ice cream cone." But it actually takes an hour and a half of intensive cardio to burn off the calories you'd get from a medium pizza or 30 minutes of running to burn off a Mars candy bar.

Running an entire 26-mile marathon only burns off NEARLY ONE pound of fat! Even Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps says that whole thing about him eating 12,000 calories a day was just a myth. Working out and keeping your usual eating habits means you'll just maintain your weight if you're lucky.

And because people are hungrier after they've worked out, they tend to treat themselves with some extra yummies. Yikes.

So, what's the solution? If you want to lose weight, you have to work out AND cut calories. Ugh, the horror, the horror.

However, working out is essential for your health whether or not you want to lose weight. Moderate exercise just 10 minutes a day can reduce your risk of all causes of death, even cancer.

The main reason I work out -- besides feeling slightly crazy if I don't -- is that I've seen too many elderly people who can barely walk. I want to be able to have mobility, tie my shoelaces, pick up boxes, and generally be mobile and independent when I'm old, should I be lucky enough to grow old. That's why I take yoga as well as do cardio -- so I can remain flexible into my golden years.

But if you're looking to shed pounds, make sure you don't make the mistake of thinking you can eat whatever you want because of your vigorous workouts. Chances are, your workouts are not that vigorous.

Did you think working out would make you lose weight?

 

Image via Stijlfoto/Flickr

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