On The Table

A collection of knowledge-based articles to inspire overall wellness.

How Much Exercise Do You Need to Lose Weight?

When it comes to weight loss, it generally follows when "calories out exceed calories in." A caloric deficit can occur by 1) reducing calories by food intake and/or 2) increasing energy expenditure through exercise. But aside from the stress of counting calories and staying under daily targets, just how much exercise does one need to lose weight?

How Much Exercise Do You Need to Lose Weight?

What's the Best Exercise to Lose Weight? And How Much of It?

The loaded question that could be the answer to the nation's obesity epidemic... The best exercise to lose weight is not suggestive of a particular movement, but the movements that individuals will actually complete. That's right - the best exercise is the one individuals will continually complete and enjoy. But when it comes to just how much, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests the following guidelines:

Prevent Weight Gain: 150 to 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with weight gain prevention.

Weight Loss: Greater than 150 minutes per week is associated with moderate weight loss. More than 250 minutes is shown to provide clinically significant weight loss.

Weight Maintenance (after weight loss): Some evidence suggests greater than 250 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity will increase weight loss as compared to diet alone.

Recommendations set by ACSM also aligns with the American Heart Association recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, ultimately averaging for 30-minutes on five of the seven days, for cardiovascular health. ACSM and other healthcare professionals also advocate and encourage implementing a strength or resistance-training program to increase muscle mass, subsequently elevating metabolism and reducing health risks. However, duration and intensity greatly varies based on exercise baseline, as beginners are encouraged to start slow while more experienced athletes may train for hours in a single day.

How to Lose Weight with Exercise

1. Start Small
Although it is admirable to be ambitious, being overzealous can actually lead to frustrations and eventually... Throwing in the towel. Especially if beginning a new workout program or regime, start small and go slow to reduce the risk of injury, ultimately keeping the body healthy and strong enough to tackle upcoming workouts.

2. Stay Consistent
Staying consistent is imperative, as irregular exercise patterns generally do not facilitate adequate weight loss. Scheduling workouts and working out with others can assist in your consistency. But even on busy days or time periods, try to squeeze in at least a 20 minutes of activity.

3. Document Progress
Along with scheduling workouts, log and document your progress. Whether it be pounds or inches lost or feelings of wellbeing, visualizing and acknowledging progress can keep you accountable and motivated to continue an active lifestyle.

4. Do What You Enjoy
As mentioned, really the best exercise is the one you will actually do, as individuals are more apt to adhere to an exercise program if they enjoy the workouts. If workouts start to feel like more of a chore, try out other exercises, including social activities with other motivated exercisers.

5. Switch It Up
Even if you enjoyed an exercise at one point, consistently and repeatedly doing the same workout may lead to burnout. But along with minimizing boredom risk, switching up workout routines is also stressed to target various muscle groups and diversify range of motions.

6. Complement with Diet
Although the concept of "You cannot out train a bad diet," is up for challenge, you can ease and facilitate greater weight loss when paired with a nutritious diet. Reduce added sugars and high-fat foods and incorporate more whole grains, fresh produce, lean proteins, and healthy fat sources. BistroMD offers well-balanced meals straight to your doorstep, ultimately taking out the guesswork of facilitating weight loss and sticking to health goals. They also offer extensive fitness resources, including workout tips, exercise, programs and benefits!