There is a well-known saying that you are what you eat. You’re probably not aware of a saying that's just as important along the lines of “you are how you exercise” – because it doesn’t exist! Regardless of your cheap gym membership, more of your time will be spent away from the gym than it will in it, even if you work there! Therefore it is this time outside of the gym that is key to your health and fitness. Whatever your goals are, be they to lose weight or become more muscular, it is the combination of eating and exercise that will determine whether or not you will be successful. Here we ask the question of what is truly more important, eating versus exercise and where your focus needs to be. So read on in order to find out whether your shopping habits or your cheap gym membership matter more.
You’ve all done it, eaten something tasty that perhaps you didn’t need and then told yourself that it’s okay because you can burn it off in the gym later. But if it were that easy, then you could eat anything you craved, provided you trained hard enough right? Wrong, if it were that easy why would anyone ever be on a diet?
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of your results comes from 20% of your efforts. In other words one or two smaller elements will make a massive difference. In terms of health and fitness it is said that the 80% is from the food that you eat. If you can manage to clear out the poor food choices and replace them with healthier and more wholesome alternatives then this will make a huge difference. Of course exercise is still needed, but you’ll be doing it on better fuel and will therefore perform better too. Still not convinced…
To lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficient (burn more calories than you consume). A pound of fat consists of approximately 2500 calories and therefore by having of deficiency of 500 calories a day will mean that you should lose over a pound a week.
There are two elements to this calculation, what you burn through exercise and what you consume through your diet. Now, ask yourself, is it easier to eat 500 calories less in a day or burn an additional 500 calories at the gym or through exercise?
Two slices of pizza will probably be in excess of 500 calories as will two pints of lager, but to burn 500 calories you’ll need to cycle or run for over an hour. Therefore it is clearly easier to eat fewer calories and make the sacrifices there than it is to do additional exercise to cancel out your food choices. If you eat something and decide to burn it off at the gym, you’ll have to do additional work on top of what you were going to do anyway as part of your routine.
It is clear therefore that it is easier to address what you eat rather than burn it off through extra effort – but you should never dismiss exercise, nor should you consider starvation an option. It is about balance and the above examples are to show how quickly the calculations can become imbalanced.
Exercise is beneficial beyond just burning calories. It creates a healthy heart and body and it can also help with your mental health too. You will improve your strength, flexibility and coordination and be looking after your body better. So you should always exercise.
Exercising will be more beneficial when combined with a healthier diet. Reduce your salt, hydrogenated fat and sugar intake and choose instead wholesome and natural food. Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean salads and missing out on fun with friends, there are lots of tasty foods that can both satisfy your appetite and your nutritional requirements at the same time. You just need to learn what they are.
Exercise is awesome and at times there is nothing better than hitting the gym hard and feeling the endorphins rushing through your body. But food is pretty awesome too, and a good satisfying meal can make you feel great. Food is the fuel of life and you should choose it wisely. Eating the wrong foods can negate all of your hard work. But eating well can boost your training, your mood and the results. In short never see it as eating versus exercise, see it as a lifestyle and adapt it so that you can live better.