Effects of a short-term exercise program on caloric consumption

Health Psychol. 1985;4(5):437-48. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.4.5.437.


The present study investigated the effects of a short-term exercise program on caloric intake. Thirty-three women were randomly assigned to either a high-intensity exercise group (80% maximum heart rate), low-intensity exercise group (55% maximum heart rate), or waiting list control group. Exercisers were required to ride ergometer bicycles three times per week for 7 weeks, expending 200 kilocalories of energy per exercise session. All participants recorded food intake during specified weeks before, during, and following the exercise program. Results showed no significant caloric intake differences among the three groups, but a trend toward reduction in food intake with increased exercise intensity was found. Interestingly, comparisons between caloric intake on exercise and nonexercise days revealed that both exercise groups consumed significantly less on exercise days. Additionally, the control group evidenced a larger caloric intake level than did the two exercise groups on exercise days. These results suggest that exercisers do not compensate for energy expenditure by increasing caloric intake and that choosing between low- and high-intensity exercise does not differentially alter caloric intake. Nevertheless, maximization of negative energy balance or weight loss may be best achieved by exercise programs of high frequency and intensity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / analysis
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Body Weight
  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Physical Fitness