Exercise or Eating. Eating or Exercise.
Which one should you prioritize?
Which should you begin with?
Which one is going to help you reach your personal goal?
The answer isn’t black or white, you DO NEED BOTH Exercise AND Eating.
Whether your goal is overall health, body change, improved fitness and performance, or fat loss you must implement Exercise and Eating into your approach.
I’m writing this blog though to elaborate more as to WHY and HOW Exercise is important because it’s not what many of us have been told and led to believe.
To begin, Exercise is NOT the main driver of your weight loss and fat loss. It plays a role but it’s not the big player. I know you may be saying, ‘But I need to burn calories to lose weight! So how is exercise not important if it burns calories?’
- Exercise does burn calories but not nearly as much as you might expect or want it to.
- It’s way harder to exercise away all the calories you can eat.
- It takes more time to burn calories exercising than it is to eat those same number of calories.
- Add to that the negative hormone responses to exercise when you over exercise or exercise to burn off loads of calories - your hormones go haywire, which affects your fat loss potential and you struggle losing weight; you end up holding onto fat!
- We can only reasonably burn 10-30% of the calories we eat through exercise and physical activity daily.
Don’t go expecting Exercise to be ‘the’ main reason you lose weight and keep it off.
Exercise is excellent for plenty of reasons, but directly helping weight loss isn’t the main one. Here are some reasons to keep Exercise that indirectly influence your fat loss and body change:
- Exercise stimulates muscle synthesis, when you have more muscle you are able to perform better.
- Exercising changes your body shape, shape change is a greater marker of results than the number on the scale. Body fat and circumferences tell you your losing FAT and your becoming leaner and healthier. Without exercise (the right kind, which I’ll cover in a future blog) you won’t achieve this.
- Exercise helps you use what you eat more efficiently, you’re fueling your body.
- The right amount and type of exercise promotes healthy hormone function which will optimize your results, how you use your food, and your overall energy.
- Performing effective exercise creates an afterburn, meaning your body will continue to burn calories AFTER the workout, which affects your overall burn throughout the day.
- Being fit and strong in the gym promotes being active and healthy outside of the gym. Less likely for injury or pain, and more likely to want to move and be physically active.
- Exercise also has numerous positive health benefits from cardiovascular heart, gut, brain, joint, bone.
- Exercise promotes longevity, healthy aging, lifelong mobility and ability, and disease prevention.
- Studies also link exercise and physical fitness to better mental health and mindset!
These are all positive reasons to exercise. It feels good to be fit, and it does the body good as well.
I know you’re still probably wondering how you’re supposed to go about losing weight if exercise isn’t the key. Let me explain that here next.
There are actually three other pieces of the puzzle that factor into your fat loss and body change results. They are Food, Mindset, and Movement.
The four of them together are often termed the 4Ms - Mindset, Movement, Meals, and Metabolics (Exercise).
In this blog, I’m just going to address Exercise (above) and Eating or Meals (continue reading below). However, it’s critical to express to you that these are Not the greatest influencers, not even Eating. The greatest influencers and root of where you should be starting are Mindset and Movement. (I’ll address these two in a separate future blog because they’re that important to have their own spot)
Now, about Eating... what you eat has the power to change you from the inside out. I’ve already stressed that it’s more important than exercise or exercise alone, and here’s why:
- ALL of your energy intake comes from the food you eat.
- It’s super easy to eat a surplus of calories, in fact it can take mere minutes to consume all that you need in a day.
- This also means it’s just as easy to focus on adjusting your eating so you’re NOT eating too many calories.
- Losing weight, fat loss, and body change are NOT just a calories game. They’re a Hormones one too.
- What you eat affects hormones which affect your hunger, cravings, energy, and fat burning or storing ability.
- Food also is being linked to brain health and gut health through research.
- The food you eat can influence your exercise, how effective of a workout you have, whether you get the most out of your workout, and your full potential.
- It’s easy to eat mindlessly, while distracted, or in order to cope with stress, emotions, boredom, or some other positive or negative feeling.
- Food is everywhere, and we need to create a healthy relationship with it and an understanding of it and it’s influences.
So there you have it, Exercise and Eating, though both play roles, if you’re really wanting lasting weight loss and body change and looking to feel and be your best pair them with each other, but strive to manage your eating rather than use exercise to fuel and maintain your results.