Why Workouts Don't Always Equal Weight Loss

Weight along isn't the best measure of fitness, but there are reasons you may want to drop a few pounds. You may find that despite increasing your activity level, the pounds are sticking around. Or even more frustratingly, the pounds seem to be multiplying. There are a few reasons this can happen. Avoid these mistakes to start shedding a few pounds.

Overestimating caloric burn

It can be easy to overestimate how much a workout actually burns, particularly for new athletes. A good rule of thumb is running a mile burns 100, regardless of your speed. That can sound like a lot but losing a pound of fat means burning 3,500 calories. Quick results may not come, and that's okay.

And remember to be careful with machines that produce calories-burned readings, such as a treadmill or elliptical. These machines can overstate calories burned. Consider consulting this HarvardMedical School study that shows the number of calories burned per 30 minutes of activity.

Food choices

Many of us are familiar with food rewards. You worked hard, and you've earned a treat. But even if you correctly estimated your caloric burn, treats can easily undo that hard work. Exercising a few days a week doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want. Whatever your health and fitness goals, it's important to both exercise and eat a balanced diet.

Consider portion sizes as well. Portions at restaurants are typically far larger than you'd normally eat, so considering taking some of your meal home for later. When cooking at home, read the serving size on the label - it may be smaller than you think.

Drink choices

Over 50% of American adults consume at least one sugary beverage a day. Not only are these calories nutritionally lacking, they leave you feeling empty and may lead you to overeat. And it isn't just soda you have to be careful of. Be conscious of fruit juices and sugar-laden coffees or teas.


The brain can mistakenly send a hungry signal when you're actually thirsty. In addition, post-workout cravings for salty foods are often a sign that you need to replace electrolytes. After a workout, aim to rehydrate with an electrolyte-rich, low sugar fluid (like Nuun!) Over the next couple of hours.



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