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We all know exercise and fitness are good… but what does working out actually do? What do we want it to do?

  • Fitness does NOT burn calories the way we think it does. Our overall metabolic rate for any given day is typically going to be about the same above a moderate level of activity.
  • Fitness DOES strengthen your body. Fitness strengthen muscles, bones, and organ systems.
  • Fitness DOES strengthen efficiencies of toxin removal and nutrient deliver. Exercise enhances health and well-being by making many of our systems more efficient and responsive.
  • Fitness DOES enhance “metabolic flexibility” – the ability for the body to create energy through different pathways, from glucose, fatty acids, ketones, and proteins when necessary. This does not mean the more exercise, the more you burn fat. It DOES mean that exercise trains the body’s ability to burn fat.
  • Fitness DOES prioritize and distribute nutrients for body composition. The more quality fitness you do, the more your body distributes nutrients where they need to go to build muscle, recover, etc. It doesn’t “burn fat,” but it builds muscles, which can increase in size compared to fat mass size.

The greatest benefits of exercise are the building of capacities, functions, and capabilities, the building of lean muscle mass, and the optimization of adaptive hormones, not to the burning of calories.

Debunking exercise for fat loss:

The Compensation Model of Energy says that the energy or calories we “burn” from exercise are relatively insignificant compared to other activities, and what little more we do use, we compensate by resting more and eating more.

We compensate by being less active…

  • At an unconscious level, we respond to exercise by being less active – the body compensates for the stress by seeking ways to conserve energy.
  • At a conscious level, we respond to exercise by rewarding ourselves with relaxation.

We compensate by consuming more…

  • At an unconscious level, we respond to exercise by eating more because the body makes us more hungry.
  • At a conscious level, we respond to exercise by rewarding ourselves for our hard work by resting and relaxing, and sometimes indulging in foods we might not normally eat or eating more of the foods we might not normally eat so much of.

The Constrained Model of Energy Expenditure says the more exercise we do, the more the body directs energy AWAY from other vital functions. There’s a limit to how much energy we can use in a day – the question is, where is that energy directed?

  • The brain uses a ton of energy. The most energy of any body part or organ. The more we think and stress, the more exhausting for the entire body.
  • Vital functions require energy. Even sitting still requires energy.
  • Recovery and adaptation require energy. Sleep is very energy intensive!
  • Fitness and stress take up energy. In fact the more we workout and stress out, the more we’re pulling from other vital functions… and this is exactly what we experience.

An hour of power is all you need most days, so that you have plenty of “energy” and resources left over to fuel vital functions and recovery. If you OVER-exercise or OVER-train, you actually pull resources away from vital functions and recovery – and this is exactly what we see in ourselves in others.

How much time and energy should you devote to fitness??

In this video, we discuss this question plus we work on debunking exercise for fat loss and what is an ideal time/energy level/type of workout while also stressing the importance of recovery!


Listen in to our podcast or watch the full video for more on this super important topic!

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Paul C. Tijerina

Paul C. Tijerina | BS MFT CPT NLP | Nutritional Therapist & ATAVIST Life Coach