Last week I argued that of course exercise can help with weight loss and weight maintenance. The obvious part is through creation of a caloric deficit, given you’re aware of your eating habits. 

Here are some other ways that exercise can help with the weight loss process:

Exercise Means a Focus on Fat Loss

A caloric deficit through decreased eating alone WILL help you lose weight. But weight loss and fat loss are not synonymous. Exercise, specifically strength training, will cue your body to retain muscle during the deficit. Without that cue, you’re just as likely to lose muscle as you are to lose fat. 

Strength Training Helps with Insulin Sensitivity

I’m not going to get into the debate about the pros and cons of carbs, but either way, we know for a fact that insulin insensitivity can lead to a host of health issues. Muscles, particularly fast twitch muscles used when lifting heavy, preferentially use carbs and insulin is critical in getting those carbs into the muscle. 

Better insulin sensitivity through the use of strength training means carbs you eat get shuttled to your muscles instead of just your fat cells. 

Being in Better Shape Generally Leads to More Activity

When I’m feeling good in my body I’m more likely to take the stairs, walk to a destination, or generally move around and stand up more. A caloric deficit can make you feel more lethargic than normal, but feeling fit can help negate that. 

Getting “Toned” Means Showing Muscle, and Results Beget Results

Rarely to people want to actually look like a simply smaller version of themself. The term we hear most often is “toned.” All being toned means is that you shed body fat to reveal muscle underneath, but not so much body fat that your muscles get that “chiseled” or striated look of bodybuilders. 

As mentioned above, a caloric deficit without strength training to preserve muscle won’t get you that toned look. And if you just shrink without getting the look you want, it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re dieting for. But add strength training in, and start to see some real shape to your physique, it’s so much easier to stay on track.