Weight loss, from a strictly scientific perspective, seems pretty straightforward: in order to lose weight, a person must burn more calories than they consume. Obviously, this means getting some exercise; however, it isn’t always this simple. If a person’s diet is poor, it will take exponentially more exercise to see any results. Now, a new study published in the The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows just how ineffective regular exercise without a diet plan could be. Not only can the exercise fail to produce results, it could also actually cause weight gain. Think about it: getting a whole bunch of exercise could technically cause you to become more hungry throughout the day. If you’re not watching your diet, you could end up overeating and negating any of the benefits the exercise provided. This study shows how bad it could be, depending on the person.
Study Focused on Women Exclusively
Researchers at Arizona State University found 81 female volunteers who were generally healthy but also lived sedentary lifestyles. The women were all considered overweight based on their BMIs, but some were heavier than others. The participants began a supervised exercise program that lasted 12 weeks, with three 30-minute sessions each week. The exercises performed were focused on aerobic endurance, and the workouts were taken at a pace that represented around 80 percent of the volunteers’ maximum endurance. It’s important to note that researchers told the women not to change their eating habits whatsoever.
When the 12-week period was over, the women were much more aerobically fit. However, a staggering 70 percent of them had actually gained weight. This wasn’t from building muscle either – the weight gain was due to increases in fat mass. Some women showed no change in weight, while others did shed some pounds. However, some of the women who experienced weight gain actually put on as much as 10 extra pounds during the study.
One Month Could Be The Cutoff for Assessing Effectiveness
Researchers believe that the weight gain was likely caused by overeating due to the sudden increase in physical activity. Some of the women may also have spent less time exercising outside of the aerobic sessions without necessarily intending to do so. Researchers noticed that the exercise had differing results regardless of a woman’s original weight. Perhaps the most interesting data they found, however, was that women who were losing weight after four weeks continued to do so while others that were not losing weight at that time ended up not experiencing weight loss at all. This suggests that if a diet and exercise program doesn’t start showing results in about a month, you may need to change something before you actually start losing weight.
Weight Gain And Exercise: The Bottom Line
Everybody is different. Exercise and diet plans that allow one person to lose weight might not work as well for someone else. However, one thing that’s always constant is the need to both diet and exercise. While some studies and products suggest otherwise, most health professionals would agree that both approaches are needed in order to lose weight. If you’re experiencing weight gain despite getting regular exercise, it’s time to seriously consider changing your eating habits.