Exercise or Nutrition; which is more important?
If I had been asked this question 15 years ago, I would have answered ‘I train daily so I can eat what I like’. Thinking that I had it under control, I admit and thank goodness for my light bulb moment, I was misguided and my thoughts have changed in the past 10 years. I now lean towards nutrition being more important, for several reasons.
Eating a balanced diet is vital for good health and well-being. Food provides our bodies with the energy, protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals to live, grow and function properly.
A nutrient dense meal provides you not only with energy to complete tasks but also is vital to your immune system, cognitive skills, muscle growth and digestive system just to name a few. If your diet is consistently nutrient lacking and high in processed foods, you are more at risk of contracting illnesses, viruses and preventable diseases such as diabetes, cardio vascular and heart disease and also the general feeling of malaise.
A poor diet not only affects your physical but also your emotional state. We have all heard of high and low sugar swings affecting our moods; it can also have a dramatic effect on our hormones. Personally I have experienced a great deal of improvement in my general health and mood by being mindful of what I eat on a daily basis.
As they say “You can’t out train a bad diet”
“As a rule of thumb, weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. An analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies found that people see the biggest short-term results when they eat smart. On average, people who dieted without exercising for 15 weeks lost approximately 10 kgs; the exercisers lost only 3kgs over about 21 weeks. It’s much easier to cut calories than to burn them off.” (Quoted by Michele Olson, PhD, professor of physical education and exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama)
You can lose weight with diet alone. But the added benefits of exercise are far too great to overlook.
The majority of my clientele commence with a low carb, nutrient dense eating plan, designed to assist the body to burn body fat for fuel and so therefore result in maintaining their lean muscle mass, which leads to great results in weight loss. My clients, who opt for a nutritional plan as well as an exercise program, consisting mainly of weight training, produce even better results for sustained weight loss. They also witness a change in body shape for the better; their size will drop before actual weight on the scales start to show and experience an improvement in total well-being.
My personal theory is and what I share with my clients…
When we exercise consistently our body will commence to crave nutritious food, it’s innate. Our body knows it can’t function on empty calories eventually something will give, we become ill and or fatigued easily and then we give up, because and I quote “It’s too hard, I felt sick and tired when I tried to exercise, I had no energy after, I would need to lie down and rest.” This happens if your fitness regime is not backed up by good nutrition.
When we first make changes to our lifestyle, trying to eat clean and exercise daily from day one can be over whelming. Also at the same time deal with food cravings, and most clients will go into a mini health crisis as toxins are trying to leave the body, suffer from headaches due to sugar and caffeine withdrawals. It is a lot to cope with when you first commence and can easily lead to the person giving up.
My general advice is to either, start with just getting into the routine of daily exercise; Making that small change can be over whelming for some, having to rearrange schedules and if you are not accustomed to early morning sessions or afternoon training. This may sound easy to manage for some, but in reality can be difficult and stressful during the transition stage.
My suggestion and I think preferably, commence first with changing your nutritional plan for a few weeks and then add your exercise regime. In practise, once you have improved your nutrition, your energy increases almost instantly, within the first four days, you will notice a drastic improvement. Your body will be ready energetically to commence exercise. As soon as you commence your training, you will find your body will crave more nutritious food, it will have a hunger for healthy balanced meals. Talk to anyone in the fitness industry and I know they will back me up on this. The more you eat nutrient dense food that serves your body in a healthy way, the more your body will crave for healthy options and less likely turn to junk and processed meals.
On paper, this seems so easy and attainable for most. Most likely, if you have led an unhealthy lifestyle for years and years, it can be very difficult to get on track. The majority of my clientele know what they need to be doing, they are educated and smart also have endless information at their fingertips via google. What they say they are lacking, is someone to be accountable to. When you find the right personal trainer, with the right support, advice and consistency you can be back on track within three months.
This is a small price to pay for a life time of improved health!
Yours in health and fitness,