Whats more important – Diet or Exercise?
We’ve all heard the saying before right, it’s 80% diet and 20% exercise. Wrong… It’s 100% diet and 100% exercise. Both are of equal importance for health and fat loss. If we revert back to the energy balance equation (see below) both diet AND exercise will have an impact on the overall effectiveness of the plan.
Energy Balance = Calories In vs. Calories Out
At JCN we do our best to control for calorie intake, ultimately taking half of the equation out of your hands. However energy expenditure can often be an overlooked factor that could be hindering your results.
So what are the different ways to manipulate energy expenditure? We have formal methods like exercise sessions, sports etc. and informal methods like steps and general day to day activity. When it comes to exercise there are multiple factors we can take into account to ensure we keep expenditure high. When weight training progressive overload is key. Increasing sets, reps, weight or decreasing rest time are all viable methods to keep intensity high and make sure we are burning more calories over time. With forms of cardio exercise, time, intensity and duration are factors to be taken into consideration and should also be progressively increased over time
NEAT or day to day activity is another important factor to consider. If we are active for 1 hour a day four days a week but live a mostly sedentary lifestyle our overall expenditure is going to be a lot lower than someone who is typically active every day or works in a physical job. Meaning, we are going to have to eat less food to create the same energy deficit (not fun). Tracking steps can be a useful way to identify just how active you are and possibly highlight areas in the day where you could be more active. Setting little targets or taking part in a step challenge (Steptember) can be a fun way to increase your general activity levels & burn a few extra calories during the day.
Ultimately it’s finding a healthy balance between both facets (intake and expenditure) and more importantly finding methods that we can stick to and make a lifestyle. Just as it’s pointless to eat keto if we love carbs (we’re going to eat them one day right..?), it’s also pointless to start training for a marathon if we hate running. Find something you enjoy, something you will likely want to continue doing long after you’ve achieved what you set out to.
Just keep this in mind, most of us could benefit from being slightly more active.