Losing body fat is a common goal for many people, but it can be a challenging task. One of the most important factors in fat loss is creating a calorie deficit, which means burning more calories than you consume. As we discussed in a previous post, three of the four ways we burn calories, including our basal metabolic rate, thermic effect of food, and non-exercise activity, are difficult to manipulate. This leaves us with exercise as the primary way to increase our caloric output and create a calorie deficit.
So, what are the exercise levers we can pull to increase our caloric output and create a more significant calorie deficit? Here are three key factors to consider:
1. Output (aka work)
The amount of work we do during exercise directly impacts the number of calories we burn. For example, squatting 300 pounds requires more energy than squatting 200 pounds, and doing 20 push-ups requires more energy than 10 push-ups. As we increase the amount of work we do, we can burn more calories during exercise and create a larger calorie deficit.
The amount of time we spend doing physical activity above our basal metabolic rate (BMR) also affects the number of calories we burn. This is why longer workouts typically burn more calories than shorter workouts. However, it’s important to find a balance between the amount of time spent exercising and the intensity of the workout to avoid overtraining and injury.
The level of effort we put into our workouts is directly related to the amount of work we do and the number of calories we burn. This means that working harder during exercise can help us create a larger calorie deficit. For example, if we push ourselves to run faster or lift heavier weights, we’ll burn more calories than if we were to do the same exercise at a lower intensity.
It’s important to remember that exercise is just one component of a healthy weight loss plan. A balanced and nutritious diet, along with adequate sleep and stress management, is essential for overall health and weight loss success. Additionally, it’s important to listen to our bodies and avoid overtraining or pushing ourselves too hard, as this can lead to injury and setbacks in our weight loss journey.
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