Sunday, March 14, 2010

Diet vs. Exercise

I have read that 80% of what actually makes you lose weight is what and how much you eat. And only 20% is exercise. Don't get me wrong, exercise is good, it is great for maintaing weight, building a healthy heart and body, building muscle mass that ultimately helps you to burn fat easier. But it isn't the key for weight LOSS.

If you exercise you will burn the energy you have consumed and that will mean less energy (or fat) that needs to be STORED by your body. This means, all that work doesn't guarantee any fat will actually be taken from your body. Exercise burns CALORIES not necessarily BODY FAT. In order to lose a pound of body fat you would need to burn 3500 calories...It would take a really long time of strenuous exercise to do that.

Your body isn't going to tap into it's stored fat if there is another plentiful, easier source of energy for it to tap into...You need to give your body NO ALTERNATIVE. Fasting gets this done. It is the whole meat and potatoes behind the Fast-5 Lifestyle and other fasting diets. If you are not eating, you body still burns energy and if there is no food for it to use it HAS to tap into the fat your body has stored away for just this occasion.

In my experience, longer fasts (either the 19 hour one we can do every day on the Fast-5 Lifestyle, or fasts like the 24-36 hour fasts that we can do once a week or so) are the key to knocking the body fat out of the ballpark!

Check out this great article, "Exercise won't shed excess fat. Surprised?";col1

Check out this post on the subject

Check out Brad Pilon's post on the subject. Very informative. 


  1. I'll check out those links! I totally agree with "80% of what actually makes you lose weight is what and how much you eat". It's a simple as calories in and out. So true that "if there is no food for it to use it HAS to tap into the fat your body has stored away for just this occasion". Great post!!

  2. Jenna, I love how active you've been on this blog. I've decided to go back to daily posting at my fasting specific blog:

  3. Hi Jenna

    Just a comment from a fellow Fast-5-er (actually I've been IFing for about 10 years). I agree with the reservations about the very moderate impact of post-exercise calorie burn. In fact, from my own experience, this even tends to reduce over time, since one of the benefits of training is a faster return to metabolic baseline after exercise (in other words, you recover faster).

    However, I would hesitate, again from my own experience, to discount the contribution of regular bouts of substantial chunks of exercise. In my own case, I exercise outdoors anywhere from 40 to as much as 90 minutes most days, mainly jogging or walking while pumping Heavyhands weights (equivalent to running in terms of energy demands). When I was focused on losing fat (measured directly via Tanita bodyfat scales), I calculated my calorie reduction from food restriction to be about half of what was required to lose 4-6 pounds a month, and the other half (500-750 calories) from the extra energy demand of the exercise (not the post-exercise burn, which if anything was a small bonus). This combined approach got me to goal in about three months. Because I love to exercise, I continue this, but now I just eat a bit more to keep my weight steady.

    In the final analysis, net calorie deficit is what drives weight loss. Our bodies source their immediate energy needs in the moment based on the nature of immediate demand and supply, but over longer periods fat stores will be depleted, or added to, depending on overall calorie balance.


  4. Thanks so much for your comment David. Good to hear that you have been successful with Intermittent fasting for 10 years! That is very exciting news for me as I have the belief that I can maintain this lifestyle indefinitely but others have commented that they don't think it is a good idea. I am happy to hear that it is certainly attainable.

    I think if you enjoy exercise and it helps you to burn that extra amount of calories then all the power to you! I do want to try to incorporate more exercise into my routine but do not enjoy it as you seem to. I certainly don't think I would be able to maintain 40-90 minutes a day, but you never know.

    Hopefully when I am at a smaller size I will find it easier to incorporate. Right now it just feels like I am exercising with a 50Lb pack on my back!

    I agree that calorie deficiency is the key to losing body fat and you certainly do burn calories while working out which can only help. I just think that fasting boosts the body fat burning and exercise only reduces the amount of calories that could potentially be stored as more fat cells in the body. The tricky part for me is that I don't like to keep track of calories or count and measure so the fasting gives me the results without thinking about it too much.

  5. Hi Jenna

    Well, you're surely right that most people aren't (and perhaps will never be) regular exercisers. In my (minority) case, it seems to come naturally, though my motives have changed over the years. At this point in life (I'm a 60-year-old boomer) it's not really about the "body beautiful" any more, but principally to be able to continue the many activities I've always enjoyed - hiking, biking, skiing etc - and stay as healthy as I can overall. By the way, the excellent article you linked to was right on the money, in my view, for most people - as well as being written by a near-namesake!

    I also think you have a point about fat burning, in the sense that fasting forces the body to equip itself with the enzymes and other factors necessary to recycle fat stores efficiently, as well as other factors like muscle proteins. This recycling process may become relatively suppressed when there is a constant flow of incoming nutrients. Particularly in conjunction with the right exercise, this adaptation may facilitate nutrients absorbed during an abbreviated eating window being directed to body repair and maintenance, rather than storage.

    By the way, as a purely technical point, in most cases (with the exception of extreme obesity) adults don't actually add extra cells to store fat; rather the existing ones become fuller. This is why different people can display somewhat different patterns of fat distribution even when losing weight overall, owing to their personal distribution of fat cells, although there is a fairly restricted range of typical patterns for either gender (e.g. the classic apple vs. pear).

    Anyway, keep up the good fight, and I wish you every continuing success.


  6. Your blog is really a Million dollars sharing.
    It really helpful for people and always seams a motivational blog for them.thanks for this great post!

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