Calories matter descriptively, not prescriptively. Anyone who's had some college level thermo should know the laws are boundary conditions (effects), not initial conditions (causes).
People incorrectly assume a simple linear transfer function between mechanical work from exercise and metabolic work. There are no matabolic pathways that use a "calorie" in its biochemical reactions. The metabolic substrates are largely determined by hormones. Exercise can have some influence. But, integrated with respect to time, if exercise is the only time of day you're using fat as your metabolic substrate, you will NEVER win. Exercise is to cuts in baseline budgeting as fat accumulation is to the mounting debt in our debt based currency.
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