One of the age-old questions that is asked by many that are new to fitness and wanting to get into shape is, “Which is better for me to lose weight, working out or watching what I eat?”
The simple answer would be to tell them they should be doing both to live a healthy, balanced life! But, to answer the question completely lets take a look at the pros and cons of just picking one or the other.
There are people that believe that just focusing on your diet alone can lead to you losing weight and satisfy your aims. The reason most people put on unwanted weight is due to overeating and a poor diet, so fix your diet and you’ll see results, right?
Well, not exactly my friends. Focusing on diet alone will for one make your life a lot more boring. The temptations of digging into a big, meaty cheeseburger or knocking back a couple of sodas with some Friday night pizza will be even more crucial to avoid if you’re choosing not to exercise. Your diet must be incredibly clean, be timed correctly and have the correct macronutrient ratio in order to lose weight efficiently.
The hard part about meal prep will be eating a lower carbohydrate diet in order to be in a caloric deficit. The protein content should be fairly high in order to retain as much muscle mass as possible to encourage fat burning. Your fat content may be a little higher as well to spike testosterone response and boost metabolism on a daily basis.
Without exercising at all, losing weight by watching what you eat can be done. The main thing is knowing you’ll have to give up any sort of sugary, high-saturated fatty foods to achieve the body you want without setting foot in the gym or hitting the treadmill. Because you can burn extra fat by tweaking how you eat, following a ketogenic diet is more than likely the way to go to keep body fat levels dropping while maintaining so muscle mass. (Not familiar with the Ketogenic Diet? Check out Understanding The Ketogenic Diet Part I & Part II to find out.)
But after going keto for a few weeks, your energy becomes almost non-existent and losing weight comes to a sudden halt. This is when a “cheat meal” can come into play even when not lifting weights. This will help spike insulin levels and boost metabolism and enjoy a burger and fries.
To all those who never want to set foot in the gym and want to get shredded by just eating less oatmeal, you think this is a load of junk! Although you can lose weight by not training and solely focusing on eating clean, you cannot get a lean, muscular body like you could by working out. Losing weight is one thing and getting a big percentage of body fat off your body is great for a number of health reasons, but if you’re looking to get into tip-top shape, you simply cannot get there without some sort of physical exercise. Whether it be lifting weights, running or swimming, physical exercise will help you get a body that you’ve always dreamed of.
With this being said, you can workout all day long and till the cows come home, but if you’re smashing nothing but whole pizzas and boxes of donuts for your post workout meal, you simply cannot get the weight off and it’s even harder to lose weight by simply working out. If zero changes are made to your diet, you essentially will be just spinning your wheels without properly fueling your body. Although you may be hitting the weights for hours on end and doing cardio like it’s your job, it’s impossible to not change your eating habits and get a shredded six-pack.
Take Home Message
So, which is more important?
My advice to anyone looking to lose some weight is to not focus entirely on just your diet or exercise, but to focus on both. If you’re skeptical about working out because you either don’t want to make the time or simply just don’t enjoy it, start out small.
Try working out, somehow or someway, at least 3 days a week to get your feet wet. Try going for a walk or some light gym sessions mixed with your perfect diet routine and you’ll see the poundage start falling off.
On the other hand, if eating clean is a challenge for you but you love smashing the gym, start making healthier choices one meal at a time. Instead of opting for a burger and fries when dining out, head over to the Mexican joint next door and order some grilled chicken with veggies over some brown rice and topped with a little guacamole. This is still incredibly delicious and appetizing, but will help you get that much more shredded in the gym. Don’t be in one camp, try and utilize both eating right and exercising to live a healthy lifestyle!