Exercise vs. Diet: Why Both Are Important

The New Year is quickly approaching.  Which means individuals across the globe are resolving to take better care of themselves and get healthier.  

For some, that means quitting smoking or spending more time with family.  Others vow to eat right and hit the gym.  

Whatever you’re planning for the New Year, there’s no better time than now to get healthier.  But, what does that entail? Should you diet or invest in a personal trainer?  Is one better than the other?  The simple answer, is both.

Exercise vs Diet

Exercise and Diet Both Contribute to Your Overall Health

It’s a well-known fact that obesity is prevalent in America.  In fact, the CDC reports that over 1/3 (36.5%) of U.S. adults are obese.  This is the leading contributor to health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.  

Of course, we all inherit a predisposition to certain health conditions through genetics.  This knowledge should motivate all of us to do what it takes to ensure we’re healthy enough to see our children have children.  This is where a balance of both diet and exercise comes in.

So, if I eat right, that should be enough, right?  Well, not really.  But it’s a great start.  If your primary goal is to drop a dress size, a well-balance diet can help you accomplish that. Diet restrictions and portion control are linked to weight loss.  But, what about when you’ve reached that goal? How do you plan to keep it off?  

Statistics show that most people who lose 10% or more of their body weight gain that weight back.  Their metabolism has slowed, requiring fewer calories.  But your body is uncomfortable with these changes and works to get you back to its “set point.”

It becomes more efficient at burning energy and activates that feeling of hunger.  Over time, you become more sedentary.  Before you know it, you’re 10 pounds heavier than when you initially started dieting.  According to data from the National Weight Control Registry, those who lose weight and keep it off for more than a year integrate a exercise into their daily routine.    

So, we’ve established that exercise helps you keep the weight off, but what about helping you lose it?  

Exercise is the most effective way to shed visceral fat.  Visceral fat is belly fat that lies deep in your pelvic cavity.  It wraps around your internal organs and has been linked to chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.  

In fact, reducing visceral fat is directly linked to preventing insulin resistance.  When we think of fat, most of us think of the subcutaneous fat we can pinch around our waist or abdomen.  Of course, we want to target those areas too.  But the overall goal is to get healthy, right?        

What if You Can’t Commit to Both Right Away?   

It’s difficult to sift through all the conflicting reports, each claiming why one is better than the other. Starting a regimen of both at the same time, yields greater results and is easier to stick to.

In a recent study, researchers broke off 300 individuals into four groups. The first group was to improve their diet and exercising right away. The second group was advised to eat better, adding a workout routine later.  The third group was to introduce exercise into their daily routine, adding a change in diet later. The fourth group made no lifestyle changes at all.  

Aside from the fourth group, the results really came down to motivation.  People who introduced dietary changes first became so engrossed in proper nutrition that they lost the motivation to exercise. Those who hit the gym before introducing diet changes realized immediate results, motivating them to stick with the overall plan. When introduced together, results were even more obvious, further motivating participants to commit to both.  

So, if your current situation forces you to choose one over the other, start with exercise.  You don’t have to work out for hours each day to realize results. Just get out there and move.  The boost in energy and endorphins will motivate you to make small dietary changes over time.      

The Bottom Line

Life is about balance. No one is saying you have to exercise for 2 hours a day. Nor do you have to limit your diet to veggies and cardboard.

One healthy habit complements the other, resulting in better body composition and a healthier you. When you’re ready to start on a healthier journey, try not to think in terms of “either, or;” think of them as one. Contact Shawn@TampaStrength.com for more details on how we can help you achieve your fitness goals.  

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