There is a common saying that we are what we eat. Our body is a reflection of what we eat. However, having a beautiful, healthy, and attractive body is a multifactorial decision that involves having a proper training routing and making eating healthy a habit. Exercise or diet? Which is more important for good health and keeping fit?
You’ve set a health goal—to lose weight, increase your energy, boost your libido. So what approach will work better, exercise or diet?
People often get confused about where their priorities should be in their training routine or diet. However, getting fit and having a healthy body is not complicated. It only involves having a healthy eating lifestyle and an active lifestyle as simple as walking, or taking an elevation. The secret to success in anything in life is consistency. Eating a healthy diet consistently, and having a consistent lifestyle is the best way to keep fit and have a healthy body. Exercise or diet? Which is more important for good health and keeping fit?
Being healthy is simple, right? “Eat less, move more.” That’s easy to say, but practicality is one of the most important things when it comes to health and fitness. Recommendations like this are blanket statements that don’t address practicality—so when it comes down to it, which is more important? Diet or exercise?
Exercise or Diet? Which is More Important For Good Health and Keeping Fit?
Yes, we should all eat healthier. Yes, we should exercise every day. There are infinite things we could do to be more robust, like sit less, eat more vegetables, eat less processed food, or drink less alcohol. But they don’t take into account the reality of life: we are always faced with different challenges such as time, energy, willpower, and money. Recommendations that don’t take this into account can quickly make us feel like we are not achieving our fitness goals and plans.
Exercise or diet? Which is more important for good health and keeping fit? Most people I see struggle far more with their kitchens than with their gyms. They’ll readily find 30 minutes or more a day to hit the gym, go for walks, or directly up their daily activity by parking further away and taking the stairs more often, than they will for packing a lunch, prepping ingredients, cooking dinner, or keeping a food diary. I think in part it’s because that’s what the world believes — fueled no doubt by shows like The Biggest Loser, and by the tremendous amount of money the food industry is throwing at the message of ‘balancing’ energy-in with energy-out, but also because we don’t get endorphin rushes from chopping vegetables or washing Tupperware.
The people who are most successful are those who embrace both consistency and imperfection. Think of starting out a weight management or a healthy living program like you would a martial art. You’d never expect yourself to have a black belt from the get-go. Instead, you’d start with basic moves that you’d practice over and over and over again. You’d fall down a bunch, and doing so would be an expectation and not a disappointment. And then slowly but surely you’d get better and better at it. The same thing is real when building any skill set, including healthful living, and just like you might be able to picture a jumping spinning hook, kick in your mind’s eye when you start out at your dojo, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do one just. So, too, with healthy living. Sure you might have a mind’s eye idea of what your healthy lifestyle should look like when you’re done, but getting there will be slow, plodding, and will include many falls.
Tips to Remember When Combining Diet and Exercise
- Never eat lunch out unless someone else is buying. Doing less training consistently is better than doing more intermittently – there are virtually no studies on diet or exercise that are long enough in duration to translate into lifelong recommendations or conclusions. Spending 2-3 minutes a day with a food diary is likely to have a more significant impact on your weight than 30 minutes a day in the gym.
- Determine how many calories you expend every single day. For best accuracy, calculate this by body fat percentage. If you don’t know your current body fat percentage, you can use an online calculator.
- Reduce your calorie intake by 20% of your maintenance calories. Any time you decrease your caloric intake, it’s helpful to increase your amount of protein to stay satiated simultaneously. (Protein also has the higher Thermic Effect of Food out of any macronutrient, meaning your body needs to expend more energy to digest it in comparison to carbs or fats.)
- How much protein should you be eating on a caloric deficit? Nutritionist Alan Aragon recommends figuring out your target body weight and getting that amount in grams. For example, if you are a 200-pound woman who wants to get down to 120 pounds, consume at least 120g of protein per day.
- Once you are comfortable with counting calories, consider switching to counting macronutrients instead. Focusing on macronutrients, rather than calories, is an excellent “hack” to disrupt the fact that people (myself included) are often translating exercise and eating into the same currency: calories. You’ll notice that the weight loss recommendation above makes no mention of training. But while you shouldn’t be factoring practice into your caloric expenditure or intake, you should still be incorporating it as much as practical.
Exercise or diet? Which is more important for good health and keeping fit?
Sure, weight is lost in the kitchen,” says Dr. Freedhoff. “But health is gained in the gyms.
How to Lose Weight with Diet and Exercise
- Focus on what you eat: It’s clear that you need to restrict calories in your diet to lose weight—and exercise to keep it off,” says Tim Church, M.D., the director of preventive medicine research at Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge. “Most people who exercise to lose weight and don’t restrict calories shed only 2 to 3 percent of their weight over 6 to 12 months,” says Church. The reason? It’s much easier to deny yourself 500 calories a day—the amount you typically need to cut to lose a pound a week—than to burn that much through exercise. For instance, to work off almost 500 calories, a 155-pound woman would have to spend an hour pedaling a stationary bike at moderate intensity. Compare that with swapping a Starbucks Grande Caffé Mocha with 2 percent milk (200 calories without whipped cream) for an everyday brewed coffee (5 calories) and eliminating a nightly bowl of ice cream (about 200 calories in a half cup) and a handful of potato chips (almost 160 calories). A bonus benefit of losing weight: Shedding about 5 percent of your body weight will reduce your risk of developing diabetes by nearly 60 percent.
- Take action and be active: Eating fewer calories is pretty straightforward when you follow three guiding principles. First, stick with a primarily plant-based diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and heart-healthy fats, like olive oil). Second, limit processed foods (such as frozen meals, deli meats, and refined carbohydrates, including pastries and white bread), which contain lots of empty calories in the form of sugar and unhealthy fats (not to mention a lot of salt).If you follow these two guidelines, you’ll automatically be doing a third thing that is linked to reduced calorie intake: eating more low-calorie–dense foods. High-calorie–dense foods (like full-fat cheese and red meat) pack more calories ounce for ounce than low-calorie–dense ones (like vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole-grain cereal). According to a study published in the journal Appetite, eating a low-calorie–dense diet (by decreasing fat, eating more produce, or adding water to recipes) helped people consume 230 to 396 fewer calories a day. “With these strategies, you’ll also be eating foods that are higher in fiber, so you’ll stay satisfied,” says Donald D. Hensrud, M.D., the chair of preventive medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. If you’re still not dropping weight, consider using an app, such as Lose It!, to track your calories. That way, you’ll be able to see what you’re consuming and where the calories are coming from
How to Use Diet and Exercise for Energy Boost
Watch what you eat: It’s true that exercise can give you an immediate surge of energy, but smart eating throughout the day will fuel you with a steadier supply.
“With proper nutrition and well-timed meals, you’ll keep your blood sugar balanced. This is important since blood sugar spikes and drops are a leading cause of energy fluctuations,”
Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist in Salt Lake City and the author of The Secret of Vigor.
You’ll also help to balance your brain’s neurotransmitters, which are chemical substances (including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) that keep your mood up, and therefore your energy from plummeting.
How to Balance Blood Sugar with Diet
What to do: To maintain an even blood-sugar level, eat five to six times a day, or about once every three hours. In addition to your primary meals, fit in two to three 200-calorie snacks. Ideal snacks contain lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates—for instance, yogurt with granola, an apple with low-fat cheese, or peanut butter on crackers with a banana. Frequent eating can also help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression (both of which can influence energy) since low blood sugar can increase your level of the stress hormone cortisol.
Another way to stave off fatigue is to load your diet with foods rich in flavonoids, like blueberries, blackberries, and acai juice.
“Our research shows that flavonoids interact with receptors in the brain that lessen the perception of tiredness. So while they’re not necessarily energy-boosting, they are fatigue-reducing,” says Talbott. About half a cup of blueberries will do the trick. Another easy strategy? Drink water throughout the day. The sluggish feeling that you get late in the afternoon, which then drives you to the vending machine, is often your body telling you that it’s low in fluid, says Talbott. The best gauge of hydration is the color of your urine, which should be almost clear if you’re well hydrated. Keep a bottle of water nearby and sip it all day, and drink a large glass of water with every meal or snack”
How to Boost Libido with Diet and Exercise
Focus on exercise: in a 2008 study in Obstetrics & Gynecology, almost 30 percent of women reported that they had experienced low libido in the past year.
“Exercise is one of the best ways to improve body image, which affects libido,” says Heather Hausenblas, an associate professor of health sciences at Jacksonville University, in Florida, whose research focuses on exercise and body image. Libido is also affected by mood and self-esteem, and exercise can improve both.”
What to do: All types of exercise can make you feel better about yourself, but yoga is one of the best for women with low libido, says Lori Brotto, an associate professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver. Brotto, who conducts research on women’s sexual health and counsels women who struggle with such issues as low sexual desire and loss of arousal, says that studies have found that yoga helps to decrease stress and anxiety, induces a state of relaxation, and allows women to remain focused—all of which can improve sexual health. She adds that strength training can also help tone perceived trouble spots and help women
“Feel more comfortable about being touched”
Types of Exercise to do to Boost Strength and Immunity
- Compound exercises: This is exercises that work different parts of the body at once. Compound exercises include bench press, deadlift, and squat. These activities are well known for their calorie-burning benefits.
The number of repetitions( number of times you execute each exercise at once), determines the result you get.
Performing a compound exercise for 1-5 reps is used to gain muscular strength and burn more calories.
Performing a compound exercise for 8-12eps is for muscular hypertrophy
Performing a compound exercise for 12-15 reps is for endurance
- Unilateral exercises: these are exercises that target specific muscle types.
- Cardio exercise: This involves various types of HIIT exercise or exercises that increases our heart rates and help us burn more calories. Cardio workouts include running, cycling, and swimming,
- Yoga: This helps in curing stress and reducing the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a significant predisposition to various cardiovascular disease, prediabetes, diabetes, and stroke.
There is no miracle exercise or diet training routine. The only special pill and diet is consistent healthy eating habit and training regimen.
Exercise or diet? Which is more important for good health and keeping fit? The best choice between exercise and diet to be healthy and fit is a healthy combination of both. Proper nutrition combined with a consistently active lifestyle which includes simple exercise, such as taking the stairs, is the best way to be healthy and fit. If you have any unusual signs and symptoms, consult the nearest doctor to you. And ask your doctor before starting any diet or training regimen.
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