Not according to the majority of exercise studies. The general conclusion from many, including the most recent studies on exercise and weight loss, is that exercise alone is not a weight loss program for anyone. Diet is simply far more effective and easier in producing weight loss, but exercise is just as important in maintaining the loss and in delivering unique long-term health benefits that diet alone cannot.
Here are the latest facts:
The latest exercise and weight study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) completed in March 2010 followed 34,000 chronic exercisers for 13 years and the average weight GAIN was 6lbs; 13.3% of those who gained slightly less but still GAINED, performed 60min/day of moderate to vigorous exercise and were normal weight at the start.
Conclusion from study:
• Exercise alone is not a weight loss program for anyone
• If overweight, it’s too late to reverse it with exercise alone, you must restrict calories
Earlier short-term studies comparing diet alone and exercise alone were even more dramatic:
Diet alone groups lost an average of 19.8LBS in 6 months, while exercise alone groups lost less than 2LBS in the same period.
Keep in mind that one single fact determines the rate of weight/fat loss: the average daily calorie deficit. This is defined as the difference between how many calories you burn and how many calories you consume. Therefore it’s easier to remove 500 calories of food from your daily diet to produce a 1LB/wk loss of weight than it is to perform 1.5hrs/day of vigorous exercise to accomplish the same result. That said, exercise is needed to improve your body structure, function/performance, longevity, visual appearance, etc. Exercise also increases daily calorie burn and helps you maintain your desired weight. So participating in both proper diet and exercise, you get faster, healthier and longer-term weight loss.