I am continually astounded by articles claiming that exercise is useless for promoting body fat loss. Some of these articles claim that exercise doesn't work for fat loss because exercise increases hunger, and after exercise, you eat more and thus replace the calories that you lost through exercise. But most studies don't confirm that notion. I know that I have no appetite at all for about three hours after I train. The only thing I can consume within that time is a protein drink. My appetite does return about three hours after the workout, but I am not voraciously hungry, as many of these anti-exercise articles say I will be. The fact that exercise does promote body fat loss is clearly evident by the millions of people who have lost considerable amounts of body fat through exercise. A good example of this is the contestants on the former TV show, The Biggest Loser. These contestants subjected themselves to extreme degrees of exercise and diet in an effort to lose the greatest amount of weight within a relatively short time frame of a few months. Weight losses of over 100 pounds were common during the tenure of the show. However, the sad fact is that most of these newly slim BL contestants gained all the lost weight back, and some gained even more weight. What caused this?
The BL contestants engaged in crash dieting and extreme degrees of exercise to the extent that they lost significant amounts of lean mass, mainly muscle. When that happens, resting metabolic rate drops and you must eat far fewer calories to maintain the weight loss. Although no accurate measures of body composition were taken of the BL contestants, studies that observed their progress following their participation on the show clearly revealed that most of the weight they lost was muscle. This was reflected in a permanent drop in their resting metabolic rates as long as 6 years after they appeared on the BL show. However, a few of the former BL contestants did manage to maintain their weight loss years after the show. What they did differently from those who regained the lost weight was that they adjusted their diets to consume calories commensurate with their weight. In short, they didn't return to their former eating habits. But the one thing more than anything else that allowed them to stay slim was that they continued to exercise regularly. While they didn't engage in the hours of torturous exercise that led to their weight loss on the BL show, they did exercise more sensibly and this was enough to burn any excess calories that they consumed.
I mention these BL contestants to show how silly it is to say that exercise doesn't have any effect on losing body fat. But while exercise should be an integral part of any weight-loss program or diet, it's nonetheless . . .