You have probably always wondering what is more important for weight loss, is diet or exercise ? A lot of experts can confirm you the formula – it’s 80% diet and 20% exercise. But where did that 80/20 ratio come from?
Here’s what the experts have to say about that:
The key to weight loss is achieving a negative energy balance, or taking in less calories than you burn, says Albert Matheny, R.D., C.S.C.S., co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab and PROMIX Nutrition. To shed a single pound, you need to achieve a 3,500 calorie deficit. So if you’re following the 80/20 ratio, you’d want to burn approximately 750 calories through exercise and cut an additional 3,000 calories through dieting, says Matheny. That’s a total deficit of 3,750 calories for the week.
Here’s what that might look like:
The reason dieting is so much more effective than exercise is because it takes a ton of activity to create a 500 to 700 calorie deficit through working out. Essentially, you’d need to run seven to 10 miles a day to lose one pound a week, says Holly Lofton, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine and director of the weight management program at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. The average person can’t keep this up, especially without increasing their caloric intake.
“I see this in patients all the time,” says Lofton. “People think, ‘If I run the marathon or start going to boot camp, I’m going to lose weight’ but they’re often disappointed when they don’t.”
You don’t need to hit an exact 80/20 ratio to shed pounds, but it is important for people to focus primarily on diet when they’re trying to lose weight. “You can lose weight without exercise, but you cannot lose weight if your nutrition counteracts your energy expenditure through exercise,” Matheny says.