With a ‘normal’ holiday season finally upon us this year, I’m sure your calendar is getting packed with calorie filled social events. Let’s face it, overindulging at the many holiday parties you attend will be easy. This is a good time to remind ourselves that as beneficial and necessary exercise is, it can’t be the sole solution for weight loss or weight management during the calorie filled holidays. Here’s why I say this…

Why We Can’t Exercise Our Way Out of Overindulging

I love exercise, and believe in the many, many benefits exercise provides. However, there are a few reasons why I don’t believe that exercise alone, gives you free range to overindulge by consuming whatever you feel like, unless you’re trying to gain weight.

1. This strategy is time consuming.

To lose 1 pound, which is equivalent to ~3500 calories, you’d have to complete 7 hours of heart pumping exercise each week. And heart pumping cardio fitness actually makes you hungrier than you’d be if you didn’t workout. It’s so easy to eat more calories then you normally would after an intense cardio session. Eating one order of wings and a cheese burger and fries throughout the week, will add 3500 calories to your diet; one pound of weight on your frame! So ramping up exercise in order to eat whatever you want to, is a show stopper for weight maintenance or weight loss. This doesn’t mean that exercise won’t help, it just can’t single handedly manage an overindulgent diet.

2. It’s dangerous.

As mentioned above, you’d have to exercise almost everyday straight, week over week to hold off even a semi-overindulgent diet. Working out too many days in a row, without adequate rest and recovery, will cause you pain over the long-term. If you’re in pain while moving, it’s not okay. Pain after exercising results from inflammation due to micro tearing in your muscles that exercise caused. Only a rest and recovery period enables the tears to heal. For my healing and recovery, I take one or two days off from exercising in the gym each week. I also stretch, foam roll and work on my breathing.


3. This strategy isn’t sustainable for the long term.

If you’re exercising to the extreme, it is highly probable that you’ll become bored with the whole process. You’ll stop liking it, and you’ll probably end up quitting quite early on in the process. I’ve seen it happen to many of my clients at the start of a fitness program. They go from exercising 0 hours a week, to working out 4 hours weekly overnight. In order to stick with it for the long term, you have to like the exercise program you take on, have fun with it! Working out at the gym isn’t the only answer; there are a ton of other calorie burning activities you may enjoy more. Here are a few new fitness activities you maybe haven’t thought of yet:

To Sum it Up…Why Exercise Alone, Can’t Solve Overindulging

Trying to burn off calories you consume through an overindulging, doesn’t work. It’s too time consuming to stick with and it’s dangerous, we all need rest and recovery time. It will likely lead to boredom and frustration with your program causing you to quit exercising altogether. Fitness is extremely beneficial for a number of reasons, but, if you’re looking to lose pounds or maintain your weight, it can’t ward off a diet too high in calories. Watch what you consume this holiday season guys!