Do I need to exercise to lose weight?


No...... I bet you didn't expect me to say that and now your thinking why is a personal trainer who makes a living from exercising people telling me I don't have to?

Weight loss is achieved when you consume less calories then your body needs to maintain your current weight and this is what we call a calorie deficit.

To understand how to create a calorie deficit we need to understand energy balance. A calorie is the amount of energy found in our food and drink. We each require a certain amount of energy a day to maintain our current weight at rest, and this is called Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR for short. Our age, height and current body weight all play a part in this formula. The next part of the equation is calculating our TDEE, which stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure. This method allows us to estimate the amount of calories we burn doing our daily activities. There are several different formulas you can use for the calculation but I have done all the hard work for you and with my very own online calculator. To find out how many calories you should be having to achieve your goal click here to access my free calculator. If we consistently eat above this number, we will be in a calorie surplus and this will result in weight gain. If we consistently eat below this number we will be in a calorie deficit and this will result in weight loss.

So now we know we can lose weight without exercising why should we bother?

Firstly, when people say they want to lose weight this isn't really what they mean. What they mean is they won't to reduce their body fat and increase their muscle mass. Reducing body fat will come from a calorie deficit but the toned look will only come from exercise and in particular resistance training. It is so common to see people finally achieve the weight on the scales they have always wanted but only be disappointed with how they look in the mirror still.

Secondly, exercise offers far more benefits then just trying to change how we look because it has a positive impact on our health and helps prevent numerous illnesses.

It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.

As well as preventing illness it can also have a positive effect on our mental health, increasing self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy. If exercise was available in a drug form I guarantee we would all be taking it.

Finally, Exercise can be used as an extra tool to help increase weight loss and reduce body fat. Your increased level in exercise will also increase the amount of calories you require to maintain your current weight. However, always use this with extreme caution as people often over estimate how many calories they have actually burnt. Smart devices like phones and watches are often very unreliable for predicting your energy expenditure. For these reasons it is best to use exercise as an addition to create your calorie deficit and not as extra food tokens.


Hopefully I have made it clear that despite exercise not being exclusively required to achieve weight loss, it should still be something you include into your lifestyle. How we look can play a part in your self-motivation to reduce your weight but it is always important to remember all the other benefits you can achieve from regularly exercising.

If you would like more information about this particular topic or have any other questions, please just drop me an email and I will be happy to help.

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