But before you cut your workout time in half…
The authors were studying how the body compensates depending on different exercise dose and duration in sedentary, moderately overweight men. So if you’re an active, healthy adult, cutting back on the exercise may not cause the same results for you. But if you’re just starting a workout regimen, take note!
Researchers assigned 60 men into one of three groups: a control group, a moderate exercise group (burning about 300 calories per day), and a high-dose exercise group (burning 600 calories per day). The subjects’ body composition was monitored throughout the 13-week experiment, in addition to their food intake and non-exercise physical activity.
They found that fat mass decreased similarly in both exercise groups, even though the high-dose exercise group burned twice as many calories. Surprisingly, the group of moderate exercisers lost more weight – an average of 7.9 pounds in body weight, while the group that worked harder only lost an average of 6.0 pounds. There was no significant difference in caloric intake or non-exercise energy expenditure.
The researchers aren’t sure why they got the results they did, but suggest that less exercise may cause people to be more willing to engage in other forms of physical activity throughout the day. Or perhaps that more intense workouts may lead to more food intake, although there was no significant difference in this study.
Bottom line: you don’t have to kill yourself with 60-minute workouts! Sometimes moderation is the way to go.