A Really Bad Long Term Strategy for Weight Loss

Achieving and maintaining your ideal body weight requires a multi-faceted approach. You can’t go at it with just diet or just exercise if you are looking for optimal results. You can’t attack this problem with just one specific kind of exercise and expect optimal results. You need a mixed approach.  In a 2011 study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, the impact of aerobic exercise as a means of reducing body fat was reviewed.

Here is what you need to know about the study in 4 sentences:

  1. 1 year long.
  2. 45 minute aerobic sessions for an average of 3.6 times per week.
  3. The exercise group lost 4 lbs more than the group that did NOTHING.
  4. That’s 9,256 minutes of aerobic exercise for 4 lbs of fat.

4 lbs of fat loss is not the kind of ROI that you’d hope for after a year of diligently adhering to an exercise plan – is it?

If you look at this study, it is easy to say that aerobic exercise is a poor means of losing fat (and it is) but I think that if you look a little deeper, the big problem is the magic bullet solution applied to this study. It is the same ill-fated approach that so many of us engage in – what is the one thing that is going to help me?

There is no one thing!

If just doing one thing (e.g. aerobic exercise) is bad, then what do you need to do in order to get a good weight loss ROI on your efforts?

You need some calorie restriction.

You need a little more protein.

You need more vegetables.

You need weight training.

You need aerobic activity.

You need around 4 hours per week of total exercise.

You need more sleep.

You need to laugh more.

The bottomline is that you need to attack your plan from multiple angles. You don’t need to do it all at once, but you need to build these strategies one on top of another.

Diversify your weight loss and wellness efforts for long term health and leanness.


  • Friedenreich CM1, Woolcott CG, McTiernan A, Terry T, Brant R, Ballard-Barbash R, Irwin ML, Jones CA, Boyd NF, Yaffe MJ, Campbell KL, McNeely ML, Karvinen KH, Courneya KS. Adiposity changes after a 1-year aerobic exercise intervention among postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Obes (Lond). 2011 Mar;35(3):427-35. PMID: 20820172.

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