Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Myth: Working Out Will Only Build Muscle, Not Help Me Lose Weight

Frankly, most people who start exercising won't see much immediate weight loss, unless everything else in their lifestyle is already optimal, and sadly, because many people don't see that initial benefit, they believe that exercise is worthless and diet is where it's at. That's not the case. This is a common misconception that just isn't true. It is based partly on research that shows that people who try to lose weight by exercise only
lose less weight than people who use diet only or diet plus exercise. The reason for this is that it is relatively easier to cut back on the calories you eat than it is to burn the same number of calories through exercise.

For many people, you may get the bigger bang for your buck by changing your diet, but the belief that exercise increases muscle mass and therefore will make you gain weight instead of lose it just isn't the case. Exercise, especially strength training, can increase muscle mass. Some people believe that the added muscle mass leads to weight gain, not weight loss. While exercise could lead to an increase in muscle it is unlikely that someone dieting to lose weight would experience this. In fact, when most people lose weight they lose both fat and muscle. If anything, exercise would help maintain muscle and promote fat loss. The decrease in muscle mass during weight loss can lead to a reduction in resting metabolic rate, which is part of the reason that people tend to regain weight following a diet. By reducing the loss of muscle, exercise may help maintain metabolic rate and prevent weight regain.

If you're looking for workout success stories that aren't pulled from late-night infomercials, you check out the National Weight Control Registry, which is full of personal stories of individuals who lost weight and kept it off, and how they did it. There's no reason to feel alone, or doomed to failure. Remember, your weight isn't the end-all-be-all of your health. When combined with diet, exercise can be a powerful combination to help you lose weight, but also live a healthier life. Check out these other great reasons to exercise from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), from lowering your risk of diabetes and most forms of cancer to helping with anxiety and depression, all of which are huge health benefits.