Diet and exercise. They go together like peas and carrots. One without the other just doesn’t work. This is a conversation I have with my clients all the time and one I also have with others in the fitness industry. Too many people think you can eat crap as long as you exercise. A TON. How many times did I hear during marathon season, “I’m training for a marathon so I can eat whatever I want.” So I thought, who better to explain why exercise isn’t effective without the right eating plan than my personal trainer, Cindy Lai, Founder of Cindy Lai Fitness. Check out her special offer for Where I Need to Be readers below and also her free workouts on her web site.
Diet and Exercise: Why They Go Hand-in-Hand
Diet and exercise go hand in hand. You cannot adopt one healthy habit and neglect another without having an imbalance in your lifestyle. Contrary to popular belief, exercise alone will not help you with weight loss or stimulate your metabolism. Healthy eating accounts for roughly 70-80% of the work with exercise being the rest.
While physical activity can definitely support weight loss, improve mood, and produce a variety of health benefits, people tend to overestimate the calories they burn while working out and compensate for the extra work by eating more. Many people will spend countless amount of hours at the gym to “undo the damage,” only to repeat the vicious cycle by overindulging in junk food or alcohol. On the flip side, I’ve come across others who simply do not eat enough, skip breakfast or practically starve themselves. They’ll put all their energy into their workouts, but their bodies never change because these unhealthy habits they’ve adopted caused them to store fat rather then burn it up.
Of course, no one is perfect nor should they expect to be. In life and nutrition, it’s about finding a good balance. The proper nutrition will help you obtain the body you desire, improve your self confidence and boost your fitness performance. You cannot exercise like a maniac and expect the best results, especially if you’re not feeding your body with the right foods. Food is fuel and it provides the nutrients and the vitamins we need to lose weight, maintain lean body mass, and to keep our metabolism and our energy levels stable throughout the day. Incorporating whole foods as often as possible including a balance of lean protein, veggies, complex carbs and good fats will keep you healthier and happier in the long run.
Aim for healthy nutrition at least 80 percent of the time and and strive for progress, not perfection. Be realistic with your goals. Exercise still plays an essential role in helping to burn fat and to increase metabolism, but it accounts for approximately 20 percent of the work. Don’t forget, your metabolism decreases as you get older. What you were able to get away with 5, 10 or 15 years ago in the way you ate eventually catches up to you. Stay away from crash diets and focus on making healthier choices. Build a lifestyle, not just a diet and treat your body as a holistic system for longterm results. Be mindful, be happy and be healthy.