When I was sharing my weekly weigh-in reports on Reddit for my 50 Day VR Fitness challenge, I would invariably get one very consistent point of criticism: exercise has little impact on weight loss. That’s fair, but also short-sighted. In a vacuum, it’s true that all other things being equal, fitness alone isn’t going to put much of a dent in your waist. It’s actually for this reason that I was careful to call it a VR Fitness Challenge and not a VR Weight Loss Challenge.

I’m a firm believer that weight gain or weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% fitness. Nutrition or calories-in calories-out (CICO) is ultimately what is going to determine which way the needle on your scale is moving. However, that other 20% matters a lot. There are many factors why VR fitness was an important factor in my overall weight loss equation.

The VR exercise is raising your resting metabolism, so you are burning more calories even when you’re not exercising.

You aren’t merely burning calories when you’re exercising, you’re burning calories all day long (even if you’re sitting still), but what’s cool about exercise, and VR fitness, in particular, is that exercise gives off an “afterburner” effect.  Your heart rate, in particular, will remain elevated after a workout as your heart continues to pump blood and nutrients to the muscles you just put through the paces, and that means extra calories out.

By routinely exercising, you’re sparing muscle and ensuring that your weight loss is coming primarily from fat stores.

One obstacle to dieting, in general, is that you lose not only fat but also muscle. However, as long as your weight loss occurs in an environment where you are routinely exercising your muscles, a much greater proportion of your weight loss will come from fat and your muscle be preserved.

On workout days you get to eat more and still lose weight. If you weren’t exercising, you’d have to limit yourself more to get the same results.

I calculated that to lose 2 lbs per week I would have to restrict myself to a meager 1400 calories a day. It’s important that after a workout to eat back just as many calories as you had burned, and my 1 hour VR fitness workouts had me burning about 700 calories. That meant on workout days, I was eating upwards of 2100 calories a day – a much more comfortable number – and still losing my 2 lbs every week!

Being more active and undertaking a VR fitness regime is also a catalyst to healthier eating habits.

Good habits beget good habits; it’s a virtuous cycle. By undertaking a healthy lifestyle change by incorporating VR workouts into it, I wanted to replenish myself with healthy food. This was incredibly good incentive to make good choices at the dinner table, in turn effectively fueling my next workout, and so on and so on.

VR exercise can curb hunger.

While it’s true that exercise can make you hungrier – as it certainly should – exercise also tells your body that the food you’re putting into it has a purpose, to fuel performance. During my 50 day challenge, I found that I often wouldn’t even get hungry until after I workouts, in fact, all of my VR workouts were conducted in a fasted state on an empty stomach. I also found that my mindless eating habits, such as eating out of boredom or convenience were similarly thwarted.

So there you have it. That other 20% that VR Fitness can accommodate in your weight loss journey should make your aspirations 20% easier too.

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