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4 Reasons Why Nutrition Is Just As Important As Exercise

The food we consume plays an important role in how we feel and look. Exercise is vital but according to research, nutrition has the largest impact on our fitness. The trend is focusing on healthy food intake as an important part of our fitness goals. When healthy eating habits become a lifestyle, we are healthier and happier.  A study published in the International Journal Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders found that when participants tracked both exercise and dietary intake, although on paper a caloric deficit was shown, no weight was actually lost amongst the subjects. Why? Because energy expenditure was overestimated whilst caloric intake was underestimated. In short, all the exercise in the world won’t help you lose weight if your nutrition isn’t on point. Or to put it simply, you can’t out-train a shitty diet!

1. You Can Increase Your Metabolism Naturally

Many people think that you need to constrict food intake in order to lose weight but it turns out the best fat burner is eating foods containing certain compounds. We can increase the rate we burn fat naturally according to nutrition research. Eating foods that stimulate and enhance the fat burning process will help us reduce fat more efficiently. Adding these metabolism-boosting foods will be a great supplement to your existing workout and nutrition regimen.

The following foods may increase our metabolism (read on my friends):

  • Hot peppers (active component capsaicin). If anyone knows me, this is winner, winner chicken dinner for me!!

  • Green tea (active component caffeine)

  • Black coffee (active component caffeine)

  • Cold water (500 ml of water daily increased metabolic rate by 30%)

  • Whole grains (aiding component fiber and iron)

  • Yogurt (aiding component calcium and probiotics)

  • Apples (aiding component fiber)

  • Nuts and seeds (aiding component essential fatty acids)

  • Fatty fish (aiding component Omega-3 fatty acids)

2. Exercise Alone Cannot Drive Significant

Weight Loss

Studies show that exercise by itself cannot drive significant and sustained weight loss, primarily because the majority of us unknowingly compensate for the calories that we burn when we're more physically active. I'm the biggest culprit of this- I gain weight when I exercise because I simply eat more! Whether by excess snacking or bigger meals, our eating habits can easily counteract the benefits of even the most strenuous daily exercise regimen.

Have you ever found yourself eating something that you know you probably shouldn't (that damn Cold Stone Creamery Cone I had this Sunday!) but then telling yourself, "It's okay, I'll go for a run later and burn this off"? The issue with this is best summed up by: “You can’t exercise yourself out of a bad diet”—Mark Hyman. This is because your body reaches a plateau where working out more does not necessarily burn extra calories. That said, people who are physically active stay healthy a lot longer than non active people—so move people, move! .

3. Food Is The Fuel Source That Drives Exercise

Simply put, if you don't have the right caloric intake, energy, and nutrients in your body, it is just about impossible to exercise effectively and achieve the weight loss and goals that you desire. The term "fitness food" is often used interchangeably with "superfoods". Eating a diet rich in fitness foods is essential to our health and a healthy workout routine. Incorporating healthy nutrition and knowing what that means is vital to achieving a lean and healthy body. Here is a list of foods favored by fitness and nutrition enthusiasts:

  • Oats (high in fiber, improves digestion/increases metabolism)

  • Eggs (protein source, muscle building)

  • Greens (antioxidants, reduces inflammation)

  • Apples (antioxidants, reduces inflammation/increases metabolism)

  • Lean meats/fish (amino acids, protein source, muscle building)

4. Short-Term Weight Loss Is Also Driven By Diet

We have focused on long-term results so far, but we now live in an age where the pace of modern life has made us increasingly impatient. This drives the need for short-term results too, and nutrition is the most influential factor in driving rapid weight loss.

Experts estimate that weight loss generally consists of

while the former also holds the key to your efforts. Analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies confirm this, revealing that the majority of people saw the most obvious short-term results through eating smart and dieting. Keep this in mind when losing weight, as you initially focus on shedding excess calories (bye bye reeses pieces) before you consider undertaking exercise, strength training and/or toning routines.

Nutrition and Exercise Complement Each Other

Nutrition and exercise not only complement each other but they need each other. Even if you eat a perfectly balanced diet you need to exercise to burn the calories. Additionally, you need to exercise to strengthen your muscles, heart, and lungs.

Food gives you energy, and you need energy to exercise. After you exercise you need food to restore your energy.

So, there it is...nutrition and exercise together=bliss. One thing I feel strongly about is that I am not a believer in "diets" but rather a change in eating habits that creates a healthier and more sustainable weight loss. Toss those fad diets in the garbage people! The 80/20 way of thinking is a great example of this!

2. Lee J, Li Y, Li C, Li D. Natural products and body weight control. N Am J Med Sci. 2011;3(1):13-9. doi:10.4297%2Fnajms.2011.313

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