Four in ten only exercise as part of calorie justification

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Four in ten Brits are only exercising to work off their unhealthy diet – an increasingly common regime dubbed the Calorie Justification Programme (CJP).

Millions of exercise fans admit they only put themselves through their fitness regimes to burn off the excess calories they consume through their extravagant lifestyle.

And rather than focusing on getting fit and healthy, many are using it as a way of ‘balancing the scales’ – wiping out the unhealthy food they have already tucked into or giving them an excuse to eat more.

The poll also found that over half of gym-goer adults treat themselves to an unhealthy snack/meal/drink after exercising because they feel they’ve ‘earned it’.

What’s more, the hours spent sweating it out at the gym are becoming increasingly counterproductive as 80 per cent of those admit they usually end up consuming more from their ‘reward’ than they actually worked off beforehand.

Joe Wicks, AKA The Body Coach, health and fitness expert and best-selling cookbook author said: “No matter how hard you train, you can’t out train a bad diet!

“If you’re exercising it’s really important to give your body the right fuel and it’s this combination that gives the best fat loss results.

“I recommend doing a 20 minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) session and then eating a tasty carb loaded meal afterwards, such as a bagel stuffed with meat, egg and tomato, or a curry with rice or even meatballs and pasta.

“At other times, you can eat delicious protein meals such as steak and salad or stir fries.

“Of course we all get a bit guilty now and again, and that’s fine. The most important thing after a big night, or blow out meal is to get back on it.

“My ethos is stop calorie counting, throw away the sad step, get exercising, eat right and get lean.”

The study of more than 2,000 adults also found the average adult is exercising six times a month for a total of about four hours – well below the recommended amount of nearly 11 hours per month.

But while getting healthy, fit or toned are the most common reasons for heading to the gym, more than a third go in order to make sure their body looks as good as it can, while almost a quarter want to fit into certain clothes.

Exercising on a treadmill

Meanwhile, almost half see the calories burned during exercise as extra food and drink they can then consume rather than energy units they have lost and need to avoid replacing to keep their weight down.

The study also found 46 per cent of people will head to the gym or exercise before a big meal or night out with friends to ‘bank’ some of the calories they know they will be consuming.

Thirty-eight per cent also exercise so they can enjoy a more unhealthy diet than they would otherwise.

Researchers also revealed a lack of time is the most common reason for not going to the gym, along with having no motivation, being too tired or simply not enjoying exercise.

Other reasons include having no money, the gym being too busy or being too intimidated to exercise alongside people who may be fitter or slimmer than you.

The research also reveals that pet peeves could play a factor in Brits avoiding exercise, with nearly two thirds listing their top hang-ups.

Busy gyms were found to be the nation’s biggest gripe, followed by people leaving machines soaked in sweat or hogging them entirely.

People who take it too seriously, look in the mirror as they work out or make unnecessary grunting noises also feature on the list.

Top ten reasons for exercising:

To feel healthy

To get fit

To tone up

To look good

Because I feel like I should

To build muscles/strength

To fit into certain clothes

To prepare for a holiday

To be able to eat more unhealthy foods

To justify a big meal or night out

Top ten ‘after-exercise rewards’

A bar of chocolate

A glass of wine

A slice of cake


A packet of crisps

A takeaway

A pint of beer


An unhealthy meal


Top ten reasons for not exercising or not exercising more:

A lack of time

No motivation

You’re too tired

Bad weather

Don’t enjoy exercise

No money

It’s too busy

No-one to go with

No confidence/too intimidated

A bad day at work

Top ten gym pet peeves:

Busy gyms

People leaving the machines with sweat on them

People hogging a machine

People who take it too seriously

People staring at themselves in the mirror as they workout

Unnecessary grunting

People waiting right next to you for you to finish on a machine

People hanging around the machines chatting

Running next to someone who is super fit or skinny

People who treat the gym as a social hangout

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