I guess if you’re asking, “Can You Lose Weight By Exercise Alone?” the idea of having to go on a diet doesn’t appeal to you in the slightest.
To be honest, I’m completely with you on this one.
I don’t agree with “diets” in the traditional sense, and the way most people go about trying to lose weight.
You know what I mean – either having to starve yourself or eating certain foods that you can’t stand.
Plus, I’m not going to lie, I do love my food.
I’m not adverse to stuffing my face with pretty much anything I can lay my hands on.
So, I want to show you how to lose weight by simply exercising, and without having to pay any attention to what you’re eating.
However, there is a Twist at the end (there’s always a twist at the end).
Can You Lose Weight By Exercise Alone?
I’m Going to Take You on a Journey
If you’ll allow me, today I’d like to take you by the hand and walk you through an entire journey.
Firstly, I’m going to take you through a day of eating – this is going to be a total pig-out of a day.
Eat what you like.
No Holds Barred.
Then I’m going to show you the exercises and workouts that I would recommend if you’re going to eat this way.
I will provide you with the exact calculations, in terms of calories consumed and calories burned, so you can see exactly how you’re going to lose weight.
Just in case you weren’t aware:
When you ask whether you can lose weight by exercise alone, the answer is a definite YES.
As long as you’re burning more calories on a daily basis than you’re consuming, then you’ll lose weight.
So, please allow me to show you how.
And then of course, The Twist.
All will be revealed very shortly.
A Day’s Eating (Eat What You Like)
Okay, I’m going to take you through a day’s eating now.
There’s no holding back.
This is going to be a real fast food fest.
You’re going to eat whatever you want.
I’m going to take you through the meals now and the number of calories that are being consumed.
I think it’s going to be McDonald’s for breakfast.
And remember, “No Holding Back”.
We’re going to have:
- Sausage and Egg McMuffin – 470 Calories
- 2 x Hash Browns – 294 Calories
- Pancakes and Sausage with Syrup – 612 Calories
- Large Strawberry Milkshake – 800 Calories
Well you have to have a mid-morning snack, don’t you?
I’m thinking Costa Coffee:
- Large Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows and Cream – 587 Calories
- Lemon Muffin – 399 Calories
I fancy KFC for lunch:
- KFC 3-Piece Variety Meal – 1,275 Calories
I think that will do for lunch.
Well, we don’t want to be greedy do we?
It has to be an Indian takeaway:
- Chicken Tikka Masala – 1,249 Calories
- Pilau Rice – 499 calories
- Bombay Potatoes – 350 Calories
- Peshwari Naan – 748 Calories
Do you think we should end the day with a little sweet treat?
Yes, why not, let’s do it.
Let’s not be too greedy though, we’ll just have 3 scoops of Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream, which comes in at 375 calories.
I think we can all agree that we have been well-fed for the day, so it’s time to look at our total calorie consumption.
That gives us a grand total of 7,658 calories consumed for the day.
You’ll note that I didn’t include any drinks for the afternoon or evening, but it was probably best to stay “healthy” and just drink water.
I Only Ate Fast Food For a Month
Let’s Create The “Average” Person
I’m going to base my calculations on the region with the highest average weight in the world.
This happens to be North America.
The average weight among the 263 million adult population of North America is 80.7kg (177.9lbs)
Okay, I have also used a male for my calculations (yes, it makes a difference), as well as the average height (175.4cm or 5ft 9in), and the average age (39) in North America.
So, our 39-year old man, who weighs just over 80kg, and is 5ft 9in tall has a Resting Metabolic Rate of 1,789.8 calories.
The resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the number of calories the body burns while it is at rest.
That’s right, we ALL burn calories on a daily basis, even when we’re doing absolutely nothing.
The RMR is often used interchangeably with the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is the number of calories the body needs to function while it’s at rest.
So, basically our “average” man is automatically burning 1,789.8 calories while at rest.
I’m going to be a little generous here and say that he actually burns 2,000 calories a day because of all that chewing he has had to go through eating the above meals.
Therefore, in reality, Mr. Average will need to burn 5,658 calories through activity (exercise) in order to maintain his weight.
And obviously he’ll need to burn more calories than this if he is looking to lose weight
So, let’s have a look at what exercise he will need to do.
If you want to know how many calories YOU burn a day, based on your age, height, weight, and activity levels, then I’ve included calculators for these in my article, “How Many Calories Does The Average Person Burn in a Day?”
A Day’s Exercise
As you can probably guess Mr. Average is going to have to do a fair amount of exercise.
So, let’s start off with a morning run.
My regular readers will know that I’m not a fan of running for many, many reasons, but I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, in terms of calories consumed and calories burned.
Unfortunately, due to the number of calories Mr. Average is consuming on a daily basis, this is no ordinary morning run.
Oh no, if you want to lose weight from exercise alone with no care or thought given to what you eat, then you have to pay the price somewhere along the line.
Mr. Average will be running for two hours (every morning) before his McDonald’s breakfast.
He’s fairly fit, so he will average a conservative 8mph.
So, his daily 16-mile run will burn a total of 2,007 calories.
He’ll certainly be wolfing down that breakfast, that’s for sure.
Mr. Average will then hit the gym for 2 hours.
This will occur sometime between his mid-morning snack and lunch.
He may not be burning as many calories during his weight-lifting session, as he did while running.
However, the more lean muscle he has, the more calories he will typically burn while at rest.
So, in effect, over a period of time by lifting weights he will actually increase his RMR, the amount of calories he is burning while at rest.
Mr. Average is going to go hard in the gym
He is going to pick the 5 big barbell exercises, namely the squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, and bent-over row.
He is going to complete some German Volume Training.
Oh yes, that is 10 sets of 10 reps for each exercise.
100 reps per exercise, so 500 reps in total.
This equates to 1,021 calories burned during the two hours.
I am also going to include the additional calories he will burn from a raised metabolic rate (commonly associated with lifting weights), which will typically be in the region of about 200 calories over the next 14-15 hours.
So, that’s 1,221 calories in total.
You will not get this “additional calorie burn” from normal running/jogging (which is part of the reason I’m not a fan).
I’m sure lunch is going to be consumed in less than a minute at this rate.
I bet Mr. Average wishes you ordered a bigger lunch now.
I would also suggest a little rest/snooze after lunch.
Just before that feast of a dinner it’s time to hit the rowing machine.
Mr. Average is going to have to row for two hours once more.
He’s going to go at a fairly moderate-intensity, well you know, the energy levels may have suffered somewhat from all that running and weight lifting (and probably eating too).
He’ll row for 16 miles again, but it will probably feel a lot easier than the morning run.
Mr. Average can expect to burn 1,232 calories from his early evening row.
Unfortunately, he’s not quite done yet.
After that beautiful and tasty dinner it’s time to jump on the bike and go for an outdoor cycle.
That’s right, 2 hours on the bike again.
Mr. Average lives in a hilly area and owns a mountain bike.
So, over the course of his two-hour bike ride he can expect to burn a further 1,508 calories.
He’s finally done for the day and can enjoy that wonderful Ben & Jerry’s ice cream once he gets home.
Mr. Average has burned a total of 5,968 calories through exercise during the day.
We know that he also burns a further 1,789.8 calories while at rest, i.e. his resting metabolic rate.
Therefore, in total Mr. Average has burned 7,757.8 calories for the day.
We know that he “only” consumed 7,658 calories during the same day, so he has managed to burn 99.8 more calories than he has eaten.
Mr. Average will lose weight.
Granted, it won’t be a great deal, but he will lose weight nonetheless.
I’m guessing approximately 1lb a month.
However, let’s say Mr. Average decided to forget about his mid-morning muffin.
I mean, come on, he’s having a hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream, surely that’s enough of a “sweet treat” anyway.
So, he could still eat his McDonald’s, KFC, Indian takeaway, while enjoying a milkshake and ice cream.
This would equate to 399 fewer calories a day.
Keeping with the same exercise plan, Mr. Average is now looking at losing 1lb in weight every single week.
Now we’re talking.
QUICK TIP: If you’re someone who enjoys a mid-morning muffin, or some other type of sweet with your coffee, such as a pastry, simply cutting this out of your life could POTENTIALLY see you also losing 1lb a week in weight.
Mr. Average is now losing weight through exercise alone.
However, here’s a few important points I want to make:
Even though Mr. Average can lose weight following this eating and exercise plan, he still looks pretty terrible.
Basically, the numbers on the weighing scales look great, but his body doesn’t.
Due to his high intake of saturated fat his body is a mess.
Mr. Average has rolls of fat everywhere, and while he looks “acceptable” with a top on, as soon as he removes it there’s a horrific surprise for everyone.
He looks skinny-fat and out of shape.
By eating the foods that he is, once again especially due to amount of saturated fat, Mr. Average is a prime candidate for diabetes or heart disease.
How long can he realistically keep eating like this?
Mr. Average has terrible skin and he actually looks very unwell.
This of course is down to his nutrition, but there are always various other factors to take into consideration.
Mr. Average is well into the realms of overtraining (if there is such a thing).
His cortisol levels will be through the roof, so his body will typically also be holding onto stores of fat, notably around the belly area.
Through a combination of so much exercise and horrible nutrition he is sleeping terribly.
This simply adds to how bad he looks.
It also means that he is potentially missing out on various stages of deep and REM sleep.
This means that he may not be getting the proper doses of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is typically released during these stages of sleep.
Additionally, the lack of HGH means he isn’t recovering from his daily exertions and he isn’t getting the benefits of muscle repair and lean muscle growth.
His metabolism has probably ground to a halt, as the body is under so much stress from food and exercise.
This will actually make it a lot harder for him to lose weight, and indeed to keep it off as well.
The food that Mr. Average is consuming, as well as the huge amount of strenuous exercise is affecting him mentally.
His levels of concentration are poor and he feels constantly moody.
If he doesn’t get injured simply through the amount of training he is doing, then he’s likely to cause himself a mischief due to his lack of concentration.
In reality, he wouldn’t have the energy to complete the workouts, and he’s likely to only make it through a day or two of exercising this way.
The food we eat is what fuels us in our daily activities.
So, while we can get away with eating crap every once in a while, a constant and prolonged bad diet will mean that your workouts get worse and worse, until you reach the point of no return.
Mr. Average is no longer losing weight.
A Reality Check
Okay, I’m hoping that you get that all the above was a little tongue-in-cheek.
I think we both know that no-one is really going to eat or exercise like this on a daily basis.
However, I just wanted to prove the point that you can lose weight with exercise alone.
You don’t have to worry about what you’re eating if “weight loss” is your goal.
You simply need to ensure that you’re burning more calories a day than you’re consuming.
With that said, I don’t believe that anyone should focus on “weight loss” unless they are severely overweight.
In fact, as you’re here reading this, my guess would be that you exercise regularly, and perhaps you even enjoy it.
The reality is that you probably have a few extra rolls of fat, or a muffin-top (no pun intended), or that you would like to be in slightly better shape.
I’ve already said that I’m not a fan of “diets”, and I’m not exactly strict with my own eating on a daily basis.
I’ll typically eat well-balanced and nutritious meals about 85-90% of the time, but I too like to gorge on absolute rubbish every now and then.
Admittedly, I’m not in Mr. Average’s league, but funnily enough the meals that I have mentioned in his daily eating plan, are all things that I will eat.
However, rather than on a daily basis, the above list is probably the “crap” that I’ll consume over the course of a month.
It works for me, and it keeps me sane.
There will be people out there who eat an exact scientific split of macronutrients every single day, with every single meal, and without fail.
I’m afraid that’s just not me.
I know what food I need to correctly fuel my body for the workouts I do (yet again, I’m not in Mr. Average’s league, but I’m still pretty hardcore compared to most), and to keep me in great shape.
So, the occasional treat does me no harm.
Here’s hoping that you get the point I’m trying to make
You’re here to discover whether you can lose weight simply by exercising and completely ignoring what you eat.
Once again, the answer is a resounding yes.
But, as we can see from Mr. Average’s example, it’s not doing his health any good, mentally or physically.
Additionally, weight loss and fat loss are completely different things.
You can lose weight and look absolutely awful.
You can lose fat and look sleek, sexy, and athletic.
The choice is yours.
As I’ve said, “dieting” really isn’t my thing, and I’m sure it’s not yours either.
This is why I really liked the “Not Dieting” eating plan created by Mike Whitfield.
Mike’s has created something that goes against conventional dieting and ensures that you can still enjoy your favourite foods on a regular basis.
There are certainly no restrictions here.
So, why not take this opportunity to see what I thought about Mike’s eating plan in my Metabolic Reboot Review.
Hi, I’m Partha, the founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I’m someone who’s been passionate about exercise and nutrition for more years than I care to remember. I’ve studied, researched, and honed my skills for a number of decades now. So, I’ve created this website to hopefully share my knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, get fitter, or build muscle and strength, I’ve got you covered.