How much of weight loss is exercise vs diet?

diet exercise sign

A client asked me one day “How much of weight loss is exercise versus diet?”  My answer is 50% exercise and 50% diet.

I see many people who exercise every day yet struggle with their weight.  Is that you?  The problem then is you do not have your eating under control or are not aware of what you’re eating.  You can exercise all you want but if you are eating more calories than you are burning you will gain weight.

A common attitude is if you exercise you can eat anything you want.  It may be true for some people for a certain amount of time.  Your metabolism will eventually slow down (starts slowing at age 30) and the weight will start to add up.

To get an understanding of your eating, start logging your food daily on a food log.  My clients are used to hearing me say “When you Log It, You Lose It!”  It is true. When you log your food for the week you will lose weight.  You become more aware of what you are putting into your mouth.

The 50% exercise should be split between cardio vascular exercise and resistance training.  They have equal importance.  The cardio will burn calories, but the strength training will build muscle.  The more muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolism.  The higher your metabolism the more calories your body will burn.  Also, the resistance (strength) training helps to build bone density.  As you age you lose bone density.  The strength training is going to help you to maintain and even improve your bone density.

Holly Kouvo is a certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Specialist, speaker and writer who specializes in helping people lose hundreds of pounds. Learn more at

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