Burning Calories vs. Losing Weight

What? Is there a difference between the two? Absolutely – burning calories is simply well… burning calories. It does not automatically equal weight loss. If the calories that you are burning come from tissue fat – you will be losing weight. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Let’s look at caloric expenditure vs weight loss and do a quick calculation:

1000g of fat = 2,2 pounds = Roughly 9000 calories

This means that in order to lose 2 pounds of body fat, you would have to burn 9000 calories. For women, this is the typical caloric requirement for about 5 days. So, not eating anything for 5 days would burn you 2,2 pounds of fat. You can see why calorie-restriction diets fail. Not to mention that your metabolism would greatly slow down after 20+ hours of starvation, leading to even slower fat burn. After starving, your body will do its best to store any excess calorie you eat in order to prevent you from dying of starvation in the future. This is much more applicable to women, as we all know intermittent fasting does work well for men.

So, there you go – trying to ‘burn calories’ is not an effective weight loss strategy. On the other hand, manipulating your metabolism and hormonal environment, by simply tweaking your diet a bit can get you much faster fat loss. By limiting calories, you are trying to ‘force’ your body to resort to burning body fat. However, there is an easier way! How to enable your body to burn body fat is different for men and women and in this article we will focus on men.

Men benefit greatly from intermittent fasting – having an 8 hour (or less) eating window and not eating the rest of the day. This is because they lack the ‘rebound’ effect women suffer from when fasting – in other words, men can fast, burn some fat and then NOT put it back on when they start eating again.

Burning Calories Through Exercise – Not As Easy As You May Think

We all know the benefits of cardio exercise – a low to moderate pace exercise for a long period of time, usually more than 20 minutes. These benefits include improved mental function, feeling better overall, increased levels of energy, low resting heart rate and weight loss. Wait, weight loss? Can running, or any activity for that matter, really help you lose weight? Sadly, the answer is NO.

Why cardio exercise is not a good way to burn calories

Cardio exercise is an extremely inefficient way of burning calories. Most of your caloric expenditure is in the form of heat – heating up the body. That’s why sitting on the couch, watching TV will burn you about 100 calories per hour, compared to about 130 if you spent that time running or walking.

Why cardio exercise might help you lose weight

However, as we also know, burning calories does not equal losing weight and there are plenty of examples to support that. Cardio exercise helps you lose weight by improving your overall health, including circulatory system, insulin sensitivity and serotonin levels. The reason why being lean is considered attractive is because it is healthy. This often means that becoming more healthy will result in weight loss, if you are currently overweight.

Diet vs. Exercise

When it comes to weight loss, your diet is infinitely more important than exercising. If you regularly consume a lot of bread, pasta, sweets or other insulin-spiking foods, you will have a hard time burning off fat through exercise. Making your diet a high-fat one, will quickly lower those blood sugar spikes and will put your body into fat-burning mode – even if you don’t exercise at all. That said, exercise is recommended and even only the increased mental performance is worth it.