To lose weight, experts agree that you have to take in less calories than you burn, and a lot of research suggests that adjusting your diet is more effective than burning the calories off. In fact, simply focusing on what goes into your mouth can be more beneficial then the hours you log at the gym.
But once you reach that goal weight, you’re better off shifting your focus out of the kitchen and into the gym, this new study suggests.
When you’re exercising regularly and shedding pounds, you increase your resting energy expenditure and total energy expenditure—meaning the number of calories you burn both by standing still and during activities. In the study, women who had recently lost 25 pounds and stopped working out lost their boosted calorie burn. Those who continued to move—either by lifting weights or doing some form of cardio—three times a week maintained the higher calorie burn, even on days that they didn’t hit the gym. Plus, those who just rely healthy eating are likely eating as much as they did to reach their goal weight, but are now burning a lot less and therefore consuming more calories in a day, researchers speculate.
Great news: it doesn’t matter much if you prefer lifting to walking, since they both offer health and weight maintenance benefits. Women who resistance trained three times a week (with two sets of 10 exercises) Increased their physical fitness more, including heart rate and oxygen uptake, while women who walked three times a week for 40 minutes saw more calorie burn during the activity and after at rest.