Targets dictate weapons is one of the key lessons author Richard Machowicz, a former Navy SEAL, discusses in his excellent book Unleashing The Warrior Within.
In a practical sense this is why snipers use rifles, graphic editors use photoshop, accountants use spreadsheets, chefs use knives and football players wear studded boots.
Picking the right tool for the job makes our lives easier and increases our chances of success. Yet when it comes to weight loss we often end up focusing inefficient weapons on our chosen target.
Fundamentally weight loss is a product of energy balance. To lose weight we must expend more energy than we consume and vice versa.
As you can see from these graphs physical activity represents a fairly modest portion of the energy-out equation in all but the most active of individuals. This means it would be far more efficient to focus our attention on consuming less than burning more.
Yet for many exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, remains the primary weapon of attack on excess weight. Given exercise can also trigger an increase in appetite this can be likened to swimming up river. Not impossible but awfully hard-work.
I’m not for one second dismissing the value of exercise. It can certainly contribute towards weight loss but this is not the primary target it should be pointed at. Exercise is better aimed at muscle-related targets like improved strength, greater stamina, improved flexibility and importantly influencing the type of weight which is lost from our body.
Nutrition for weight, exercise for muscles! Combine the two for maximum benefit.