How to Lose Weight at the Gym + Food Principles to Follow

It’s time to unlock the secrets of exercise and weight loss. How much exercise is too much? Here’s what you need to know about how to lose weight at the gym.

Have you wondered if there is a certain type of exercise you should be doing at the gym to lose weight? You’re headed in the right direction, because there are certain types of exercises that are more effective than others.

So I’m here to provide key insights, including the effect exercise has on how much you eat, as well as how it impacts your hunger hormones. This isn’t just about calories in and calories out. You’ll also learn my key food principles to pair with your exercise and weight loss efforts.

Past Client Experiences with Exercise and Weight Loss

When I started my practice people would come to me saying they were already exercising but not losing weight. So I dove into the research to see why this was happening. After taking time to see what was out there, I wrote 7 books to share what I found.

How Much Does Exercise Play a Role in Weight Loss?

One of my biggest conclusions is that exercise is only 20% of the equation.  

So, I’m going to tell you why this is, and why weight loss isn’t just about sweating off those extra calories.

Let’s put things into perspective. Eating a 500-calorie cookie takes less than 3 minutes, but burning those calories through exercise is incredibly challenging. So, exercise alone won’t make up for your indulgence.

I work hard at the gym and my watch will say I burned 450 calories. I know what it takes. But that is no walk in the park.

How Exercise and Weight Loss Impact Hunger Hormones

Then there’s more…

The act of losing weight will lead to higher levels of ghrelin because your body wants to be in homeostasis. It wants to bring you back to normal. So, it increases the hunger hormone ghrelin.

Then on top of that, exercise can also increase your hunger hormone, ghrelin, especially in females. And in men if they lose muscle mass.

Research has shown that the combination of weight loss and exercise can skyrocket your ghrelin levels, leading you to eat 40% more without realizing it.

How to Lose Weight at the Gym

So, what’s the solution to successful weight loss and exercise? There are two key types of exercise to focus on.

1. Prioritize Strength Training

Incorporate weightlifting and strength exercises into your routine to maintain muscle and boost your metabolism. For those that think they are building while losing, it is a myth. One is anabolic, one is catabolic.

2. Be Conscious of Your Cardio

I have seen people run to the elliptical sweating, and the minute they finish they jump to the scale to see how much they weigh.

Let me explain why it doesn’t work how you think. Being on a deficit already puts stress on the body. Add extreme cardio a bootcamp or soul cycle, then you decide not to eat. So you’re adding more stress. Exercise releases cortisol. Cortisol stops fat burn. This all backfires.

Choose High-Intensity Interval Training for efficient calorie burning in less time. Instead of spending 45 minutes running at the same pace on a treadmill, consider High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for just 20 minutes. This burns more belly fat.

And in general, move more throughout the day rather than one hard session. Aim for 10K steps a day. If you’re already getting 10K steps, push yourself to 15K.

Support Your Gym Efforts by Focusing on Protein

Protein is the most important macronutrient of all. Every diet welcomes protein, unless you have kidney disease. This will help you lose weight more efficiently while also maintaining muscle mass. Plus, it will help control ghrelin so it doesn’t spike for another 3-4 hours. I recently did a whole video of what 100g of protein looks like divided throughout day with 25-35g meal.

And as you lose weight you don’t want to lose muscle. You’re not going to gain muscle as you lose weight, but you can maintain it.

Muscle mass drives metabolism and will help reduce ghrelin levels and keep you full for longer. So as you’re lifting weights and prioritizing HIIT, protein can support your efforts.

Key Principles of Eating to Support Your Exercise and Weight Loss

All of these factors led me to come up with the principles of eating.

  1. Eat something within 90 minutes of waking up, which needs to include protein. This is to help control ghrelin. Eating protein reduces the ghrelin.
  2. Eat every 3-4 hours with enough protein at your meals. This is the time it takes ghrelin to come back. Ghrelin increases exponentially after 4 hours. The longer you wait, the higher it gets. It doesn’t tell you you’re hungry. It just makes you go crazy for food.
  3. Drink enough fluids. Your brain thinks you’re hungry 60% of the time that you are actually thirsty.
  4. Prioritize sleep. Sleeping less than 5 hours a night can increase your hunger hormone the very next day.

Take Aways for How to Lose Weight at the Gym

In conclusion, it isn’t as simple as calories in calories out. If you burn 500 calories each day at the gym, this still may not get you to where you want to be. Striking the right balance of exercise and food intake is the key to achieving and sustaining your weight loss goals.

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