Eating After Workouts - Does It Offset Calories Burned When Working Out?


There are two aspects to the debate about exercising and food consumption:

► The more you exercise, the more you eat, and this reduces the benefits for weight loss

► Exercising burns calories, and this creates a calorie deficit, that is not repaid by eating more post-exercise.

Which is correct? Do people who exercise consume extra calories eating after workouts to compensate?

A new research study aimed to test whether people tend to overeat after exercising.This was done by reviewing 29 previous studies using a meta analysis approach, by re-analyzing published data.

Identifying the size of the calorie deficit generated by exercising is important for weight loss programs.

This article reviews the findings of this study and provided charts of calories burned per hour for various types of exercises.

Estimates are provided of the time taken to burn 2lb or 1kg of weight for a range of exercises and intensities.

How Much Exercise is Required to Lose 2lb or 1kp of Weight?

The tables below summarize the calories burnt for different types of exercise and the hours of exercising required to lose 2lb or 1 kg, which is the suggested maximum loss rate when downsizing. They show that to lose 2lb or 1kg will require about 30 hours of slow walking (2 mph), that burns about 200 calories per hour. Running quickly at 8 mph would require about 7 hours to burn off the 7,000 calories need (3,500 calories for 1 lb).

Obviously the weight loss benefits of exercising will be reduced if people gorge on food when resting after a workout.

Findings from the Research Study

For the studies reviewed, the duration of exercising range from 30 to 120 minutes. Intensities range from about 40-80% of the maximum oxygen consumption rates for the subjects.

No restrictions were placed on the meals eaten during a period up to 2 hours after an exercise session.

The amount of food consumed and its energy content was assessed for each subjects.

Results

► There was no evidence of anything but a trivial increase in absolute energy intake for 2 hours post-exercise.

► For the 24 randomized trials, 75% showed no evidence of increased calorie consumption.

► There was good evidence that the exercise created a large energy deficit that was not offset by overeating during the two hour period after exercise.

► The findings were similar for all types of exercising and applied to aerobics, gym work and strength training.

The conclusion was that exercise does burn calories, and does produce a short-term energy deficit. But, most people do not compensate for the energy deficit by overeating post-exercise and by changing eating habits and food intake.

This is good news for anyone trying to lose weight. Many weight-loss studies have shown that exercise can help people lose weight. But the facts and figures show that exercising is a slow road to weight loss because the amount of exercise to lose a pound of fat or a kilogram of weight is much higher than people expect.

Weight Loss Through Exercising Alone is a Hard Road to Tread

Doing the calculation is a bit daunting. You need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose a pound, 7,000 calories to lose 2lb or 1kg of weight.

So if you're burning 300 calories in one workout, it will take you nearly 12 workouts to lose one pound.

If you cut your calorie intake by 300 calories in addition to burning 300, it will take you half as long to lose a pound or excess weight.

Skipping lunch and snacks could mean that you will eat 600 calories less each day by consuming less food.

The tables below summarises the energy loss expected for different types and intensity of exercising.

To consume 600 calories extra a day would require about an hour a day of thesemoderately demanding exercises:

Or it would require 30 minutes a day of high demand exercises such as:

All the low demand exercises would require 1 1/2 hours of exercising each day, such as:

Obviously the most efficient way to lose weight is to reduce calorie intake andexercise regularly.

Calories burnt per hour for various activities for 3 weight groups and number of hours to lose 2lb, 1kg with the exercise (listed with highest intensity first)

Calories burnt per hour for various activities by weight groups160 lb (73 kg) calories burned per hour200 lb (91 kg) calories burned per hour240 lb (109 kg)calories burned per hour160 lb (73 kg) hours to lose 2lb (1kg)200 lb (91 kg) hours to lose 2lb (1kg)240 lb (109 kg) hours to lose 2lb (1kg)
Rope jumping 861 1074 1286 8.1 6.5 5.4
Running at 8 mph (12.8 kph) 861 1074 1286 8.1 6.5 5.4
Tae kwon do 752 937 1123 9.3 7.5 6.2
Stairs treadmill 657 819 981 10.7 8.5 7.1
Running at 5 mph (8kph) 606 755 905 11.6 9.3 7.7
Basketball game 584 728 872 12.0 9.6 8.0
Football, touch, flag or similar 584 728 872 12.0 9.6 8.0
Tennis, singles 584 728 872 12.0 9.6 8.0
Roller-blading 548 683 818 12.8 10.2 8.6
Aerobics, high impact 533 664 796 13.1 10.5 8.8
Backpacking 511 637 763 13.7 11.0 9.2
Ice skating 511 637 763 13.7 11.0 9.2
Racquetball 511 637 763 13.7 11.0 9.2
Skiing, cross-country 496 619 741 14.1 11.3 9.4
Hiking 438 546 654 16.0 12.8 10.7
Rowing, stationary 438 546 654 16.0 12.8 10.7
Skiing, water 438 546 654 16.0 12.8 10.7
Swimming, laps 423 528 632 16.5 13.3 11.1
Aerobics, water 402 501 600 17.4 14.0 11.7
Aerobics, low impact 365 455 545 19.2 15.4 12.8
Resistance (weight) training 365 455 545 19.2 15.4 12.8
Softball or baseball 365 455 545 19.2 15.4 12.8
Golfing, carrying clubs 314 391 469 22.3 17.9 14.9
Skiing, downhill 314 391 469 22.3 17.9 14.9
Walking, 3.5 mph (5.6 kph) 314 391 469 22.3 17.9 14.9
Bicycling, < 10 mph (16 kph), leisure 292 364 436 24.0 19.2 16.1
Volleyball 292 364 436 24.0 19.2 16.1
Canoeing 256 319 382 27.3 21.9 18.3
Bowling 219 273 327 32.0 25.6 21.4
Dancing, ballroom 219 273 327 32.0 25.6 21.4
Tai chi 219 273 327 32.0 25.6 21.4
Walking, 2 mph (3.2 kph) 204 255 305 34.3 27.5 23.0

How Exercise Intensity and Duration Affects the Calories Burnt for various exercise types (listed with highest intensity first)

ExerciseIntensityCalories for 30 minutesCalories for 60 minutesCalories for 90 minutesEquivalent Ounces of fatEquivalent grams of fat
Running 16 km/hr 10 mph 550 1100 3300 15.1 427.7
Running 12 km/hr 7.4 mph 430 860 2580 11.8 334.4
Rowing Vigorous 420 840 2520 11.5 326.6
Walking 10 km/hr 6.2 mph 370 740 2220 10.1 287.7
Running 10 km/hr 6.2 mph 350 700 2100 9.6 272.2
Swimming 50 m/min 54 yards/min 345 690 2070 9.5 268.3
Running 9 km/hr 5.6 mph 320 640 1920 8.8 248.8
Cycling 21 km/hr 13 mph 320 640 1920 8.8 248.8
Aerobics Vigorous 300 600 1800 8.2 233.3
Swimming 40 m/min 44 yards/min 240 480 1440 6.6 186.6
Cycling 16 km/hr 10 mph 220 440 1320 6.0 171.1
Aerobics Moderate 200 400 1200 5.5 155.5
Walking 7 km/hr 4.3 mph 200 400 1200 5.5 155.5
Rowing Light 200 400 1200 5.5 155.5
Swimming 25 m/min 27 yards/min 165 330 990 4.5 128.3
Aerobics Light 120 240 720 3.3 93.3
Cycling 9 km/hr 5.6 mph 120 240 720 3.3 93.3
Walking 4 km/hr 2.5 mph 105 210 630 2.9 81.6




Research studies have shown that most people rehydrate after workout session, but they don't tend to overeat to compensate for calories burned during the workout.
Research studies have shown that most people rehydrate after workout session, but they don't tend to overeat to compensate for calories burned during the workout.
        Source: Latty [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Exercising is a tough way to lose weight without reducing the number of calories consumed. See why here
Exercising is a tough way to lose weight without reducing the number of calories consumed. See why here
        Source: Public Domain
Watermelon is a surprise as it is excellent for relieving muscle soreness after exercising,
Watermelon is a surprise as it is excellent for relieving muscle soreness after exercising,
        Source: Beyond silence (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The gym cake - a post-exercise treat
The gym cake - a post-exercise treat
        Source: By Miras Dial A Cake (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons