The Truth Behind Working Out and Weight Loss - Bellefleur
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The Truth Behind Working Out and Weight Loss

Working Out and Weight Loss 1

The Truth Behind Working Out and Weight Loss

**This article was written by Meghan Fish-Bellefleur, Lead Fitness Trainer at Bellefleur Fitness**

My goal as a personal trainer is to help people of every shape, size, and ability learn to exercise in a fun, supportive, and non-competitive environment. I believe there are so many reasons to exercise beyond shrinking your body, such as reducing aches and pains, elevating your mood, reducing stress, improving self-confidence, making new friends, and the list goes on. 

Unlike many other gyms or fitness studios, I do not believe in taking people’s body weight or measurements as a standard practice when joining. Linking exercise to promises of burning fat, sets standards that make you feel like you are failing if you don’t meet them. And for many people, this leads to losing the motivation to continue with exercise. 

However, I am also aware that many people join gyms with the goal to lose weight. I support all of my clients in positive health pursuits –  your body, your choice. If the intention is coming from a place of self-care, and it’s a choice made freely without any external pressure, I will do my best to guide you. 

Exercise and Weight Loss: The Reality.

Your body may shrink, or it may not with exercise.

In the world of weight loss, the common belief is that sweating it out at the gym is the key to shedding those extra pounds. However, the reality is far more nuanced than that. While exercise is undoubtedly important for overall health and well-being, when it comes to weight loss, its role is often overemphasized. In fact, studies show that exercise accounts for only about 5% of the total calories burned in a day, while the majority of our energy expenditure comes from our basal metabolic rate (BMR) and daily activities.

So, if exercise isn’t the magic bullet for weight loss, what is? The answer lies in the kitchen. Nutrition plays a far more significant role in determining our body composition than exercise ever could. The concept of Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is crucial here. TDEE is the total number of calories that your body needs in a day to maintain your current weight, taking into account your basal metabolic rate, physical activity level, and the thermic effect of food.

To put it simply, if you consume more calories than your body needs (a caloric surplus), you will gain weight, regardless of how much you exercise. On the other hand, if you consume fewer calories than your body needs (a caloric deficit), you will lose weight, even without setting foot in a gym.

Working Out and Weight Loss 2

Don’t give up exercising just yet… Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

Weight loss and fat loss are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different processes in the body.

Weight loss generally refers to a reduction in overall body weight, which can result from a variety of factors including loss of water weight, muscle mass, and fat mass. Fat loss, on the other hand, specifically targets a reduction in body fat while maintaining muscle mass.

Fat loss is generally considered a more focused and desirable goal for improving body composition and overall health, as losing excess body fat can reduce the risk of various health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

It is important to differentiate between the two because losing weight does not always equate to losing fat, and focusing solely on the number on the scale may not reflect changes in body composition or overall health.

Maintaining muscle mass is particularly crucial as it plays a pivotal role in supporting metabolism, bone health, and functional abilities as we age. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning that it burns more calories at rest compared to fat tissue. Therefore, having more muscle mass can help individuals keep their weight in check more effectively in the long run. Additionally, preserving muscle mass is vital for maintaining strength, mobility, and independence throughout life. 

Moreover, muscle mass is closely linked to overall health and disease prevention. Research has shown that individuals with higher muscle mass have a reduced risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Therefore, focusing on maintaining muscle mass through regular exercise, including strength training and resistance exercises, can have significant health benefits beyond weight management. 

Final Thoughts

While exercise can support weight loss efforts, its primary role should be viewed as a tool for maintaining muscle mass and promoting overall health. By prioritizing muscle preservation through physical activity, individuals can enjoy a range of benefits that go far beyond the number on the scale, leading to a healthier, more active, and fulfilling life.

If you need assistance with a nutrition plan that helps you meet your specific goals, we offer Nutrition Coaching and you can find out more here.

Jason Bellefleur
Jason Bellefleur is a multi-award-winning physiotherapist. Most recently, he was recognized as a 2016 Ottawa Forty Under 40 recipient and received numerous awards from the Orléans Chamber of Commerce (the 2011 Young Business Person of the Year, the 2012 Healthcare Professional of the Year and the 2014 Business Person of the Year awards). Jason is proud to be an Orléans resident and to raise his family in a bilingual community. He enthusiastically promotes local business within the Orléans area and frequently supports and participates in local events. Jason was recognized for his community involvement by receiving the Orleans 150 Community Builder award in 2017 by Ottawa-Orléans MPP Marie-France Lalonde. Jason firmly believes in high-quality one-on-one physiotherapy interventions. His treatment approach emphasizes hands-on intervention, continued client education, and active involvement by the individual to help them reach their full potential. By opening a clinic that offers 'Higher Standards of Care,' Jason wants his patients to feel confident that they receive the highest level of patient care available. As a result, he is also preventing injury and helping to improve their health and well-being.

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