You head out the door with coffee in hand, ready for your workout program at the gym. You woke up an hour and a half earlier than usual to make sure you have enough time for your routine. Today it is cardio – the best exercise for burning calories. You still have not decided if you are going to use the treadmill or rowing machine. Probably the treadmill, since it never fails to help break a good sweat.

After your 35-minute treadmill jog, you stretch and think about the calories you have burned. The machine said 317. You know even if it's true, it is still short of 500, which is the daily deficit you need to lose one solid pound of fat a week.

You arrive back at home, eat a quick breakfast and head off to work. Besides being a fruitful day, you hope it is one where you make progress towards a slimmer waistline.

Technically, if you can stick to this routine at least four days a week, you are doing great. It is one thing not to be sedentary, but it is another entirely if you can establish a routine where you are regularly doing productive exercise every week.

There are many reasons to be physically active. One surely at the forefront in your list of priorities is fat loss and weight management. Without a doubt, exercise is a great way to burn fat while providing a host of other benefits to your body and health. That being said, there is one crucible element to keep in mind if the primary reason you are exercising is weight loss …

Energy in must NOT exceed energy out.

No matter how hard you are pushing yourself in the gym, you are not going to lose weight if you have not established a caloric deficiency. The best way to tell when energy in is greater than energy out is when you are physically active and still not making progress, or even potentially gaining weight since your efforts. It is not an uncommon situation, given it's a natural tendency to increase your caloric consumption the more you exercise. After all, you are using the body's valuable stores of energy. So it's expected you will see an increase in appetite to replenish those stores.

If you are to be successful at managing your weight, never forget the importance of monitoring your nutritional intake alongside maintaining your exercise routine. Only when you are spending more energy in the form of calories than you are taking in, will you be able to make significant progress.