Getting the Exercise Balance Right to Ensure You Lose Weight

If you want to reduce your stored body fat levels by one kilogram, you have to have a negative energy balance of 7000 calories. You can do this by increasing your energy expenditure or decreasing your caloric intake.
Natalia Moore
Published on: 10th September 2016
You have to keep in mind that the only way to get your body to use up its stores of body fat through exercise is to undertake aerobic exercise, where you utilise the aerobic energy system. This means exercising at low intensities for long periods of time to burn large numbers of calories.

The use of large amounts of muscle mass, such as using your leg muscles rather than your arm muscles or using both leg and arm muscles in combination, will burn more calories. That's a lot of time spent walking, jogging, working out, or attending aerobics classes!
Exercise Balance to Lose Weight
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that a safe rate of reduction of body fat is 1 kg or less per week. It is a complicated process to mobilise and utilise fat stores, so if your weight is reducing by more than 1kg per week, you're probably using up tissues other than fats, or becoming dehydrated.

If you are really interested and committed to reducing or maintaining your body fat levels, you should be moderating your energy intake and adopting a more healthy lifestyle. But today we're going to talk about how you can use an estimation of the energy cost of your daily activities to help determine how exercise can affect your body fat levels. The theory behind this technique relies on the relationship between the usage of oxygen by your body and the amount of fat being utilised.

The estimation of aerobic capacity can be carried out in an physiology laboratory with good accuracy, but it is expensive and time consuming.

Calculating normal calorie expenditure per day: The first thing you have to realise is that your daily calorie output is made up of three components: Basal metabolic energy expenditure plus lifestyle energy expenditure plus exercise energy expenditure.

Basal metabolic rate: Firstly, let's calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Strip down and weigh yourself in kilograms to the nearest 0.5kg. Multiply your bodyweight x 21.7 if you are a female, or 24.1 if you are male. If your age is above 30 years, subtract 2 percent for every decade past 30 years (this is because as you age, your metabolism slows down). Now you have a figure for the amount of energy used by your body every day to support your basic metabolic functions.

Lifestyle energy expenditure: Next, let's calculate how much energy is used just getting you through the day. This is a bit subjective, as you need to decide if you spend your day mainly being inactive being active, but taking it easy (standing, walking recreational activities); or if you do manual work for a living (6 to 8 hours of lifting, shovelling, etc.)

Lifestyle expenditure = BMR x 0.4 sedentary lifestyle, or = BMR x 0.5 active lifestyle, or = BMR x 0.6 physical labour.

Exercise energy expenditure: If you want the easy way out, you can simply multiply your basal metabolic rate by 0.12 for 30 minutes or aerobic activity. A better way of doing this is to have a bike test and have your oxygen uptake predicted, and graphed with your heart rate against a workload.

Once you have this graph, you can decide the intensity at which you are going to work out at, and calculate the energy cost of exercising at that intensity by multiplying the V02 (oxygen uptake in litres per minute) by 5 calories per minute.

If you wanted to lose 1kg of fat per week, you could maintain your current diet and lifestyle and increase your exercise energy expenditure by 1000 calorie output per day, which is a bit severe. Or you could have a 500 calorie food reduction combined with an increase in exercise energy expenditure of 500 calories per day, which is more realistic, and achievable. References:

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