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Think you have to exercise to lose weight? Wrong. There are plenty of ways to get a leaner, slimmer figure without moving a muscle.

Exercise is overrated

It may surprise you to hear that you can drop weight without joining a gym - going through the rigmaroles paying your sign on fee, tying yourself into a year-long contract, taking your induction sessions, queuing hours for the machines, then burning just as many calories fighting for space in the locker room afterwards.

You don’t even have to buy exercise equipment for your home, take up jogging, or join a local aerobics class. You really can lose weight by doing nothing at all.

The phrase “You can’t out-train a bad diet” is often touted by diet gurus, and while it sounds slightly counterproductive, it is entirely true.

Exercise doesn’t actually burn that many calories

A 30 minute session on the recumbent bike may burn 250 calories, while an hour of lifting weights, even at a high intensity will probably top out at around 450 calories. That’s about as many as a muffin from Starbucks. 60 minutes of exercise to burn the same amount as something you can demolish in 30 seconds flat.

Not a great trade off really.

When you consider that it takes around 3,500 calories to burn a pound of fat, you start to see how little exercise really does in terms of weight loss. It would take around six hours of hard training to burn this many calories, and considering most of us only make it to the gym two, maybe three times per week – that’s some pretty long gym sessions.

Now, that’s certainly not to say exercise isn’t important

Exercise definitely helps – those extra calories it burns do matter, and if you’re looking to craft an impressive physique, you won’t do that without lifting a few pounds. But if it’s pounds you want to drop on the scale, diet and lifestyle changes trump taking up exercise every time.

For optimal health and body composition, no one can argue that exercise is massively important, and in an ideal world, everyone would partake in both strength training and cardiovascular activity. But we don’t live in an ideal world.

Whether you feel that gym membership fees are too expensive, you can’t make time to train, you have other commitments, or there are physical reasons why training wouldn’t be beneficial to you, it’s encouraging to know that by making a few dietary tweaks, you can still banish those unwanted pounds, strip some serious fat, and get the body you’ve always wanted.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • “Fast Weight Loss – What’s Wrong With It?”
  • By Mayo Clinic
  • Accessed on January 27th, 2013
  • Retrieved from
  • Photo courtesy of rmgimages on Flickr:

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