Abstract Ingestive and exercise behaviors are important determinants of whole body energy balance and weight control. An acute bout of exercise generates a transient energy deficit, which is only partially compensated for by food intake at the next eating occasion or within the next day (loose dietary coupling). Such an energy deficit, when repeated chronically, leads to moderate weight loss and improved body composition. For this narrative review, we assessed the effects of exercise patterns on energy intake, energy balance, and weight control in adults primarily using results from randomized acute exercise and chronic training studies. The patterns assessed were exercise mode (e.g. resistance, aerobic exercise), intensity, duration, time of day, and frequency. The body of evidence indicates that exercise training frequency and quantity are influential for weight loss. Aerobic training is superior to resistance training for weight loss, although resistance training helps preserve lean body mass better. Weight loss does not differ among different intensities when energy expenditure is matched by adjusting duration. Differing patterns of physical activity exhibited by normal weight, overweight, and obese people during weekdays and weekend days are consistent with their weight status; leaner people are more physically active. Collectively, these findings support acute and chronic exercise patterns as important modifiable behaviors to improve energy balance and weight control in adults while having minor effects on absolute energy intake.