Should I Lose Weight Before I Start Working Out?

If you have goals to increase your muscle mass in the future, it is beneficial to lose fat before building muscle. This will help you maintain a healthy body fat percentage and give you a lower starting point. When it comes to weight loss, the most important factor is burning more calories than you consume. Exercise is an effective way to do this, as it increases your metabolism and helps you burn more calories.

Different types of exercise offer different advantages when it comes to weight loss, so it is important to include a variety of exercises in your routine. A Cochrane review of the best available research found that while exercise only led to moderate weight loss, study participants who exercised more (even without changing their diets) observed a number of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and triglycerides in the blood. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is an intense form of exercise that can help you burn more calories and lose body fat. However, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before starting a HIIT routine, especially if you have known heart problems.

When you reduce the amount of calories you consume in a day and exercise more than usual, it triggers a cascade of changes in the body that affect the amount of calories you consume and, in turn, your body weight. If your goal is to build lean muscle first, strength training and aerobic resistance exercises such as running, cycling, or walking uphill are effective methods. Research shows that exercise alone won't help you lose weight and isn't the right message for the global obesity epidemic. A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who ate more protein lost 27% more fat and gained eight times more lean muscle mass.

It can be difficult to lose weight with exercise alone because energy expenditure stabilizes at a certain point. People who tried to lose weight with exercise alone burned about 500 fewer calories (about the value of a meal) each day than would be expected given their weight. Additionally, there is some discouraging research that indicates that using exercise alone as a method of weight loss can lead to weight gain. If you live with obesity (more than 25% body fat for a man or more than 32% body fat for a woman), it is best to try to lose fat first before building muscle.

Scotty Lancour
Scotty Lancour

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