Diet vs. Exercise: Which is More Important?

“Oh-em-gee there is a Great American Cookie Company cake in the break room right now. One piece won’t kill me. I’ll just hit the stair master after work and burn it off.” – me at least 100 times.
We’ve all been there. You think those 200 calories burned on cardio will cancel out bad things you ate that day. In fact, I’ve been the ‘over-worker-outer’ for the majority of my life. (I’m learning along the way, remember?) The more I research and the longer I strive to live the ‘fit life,’ I’ve come to realize that’s not the case.
At the end of the day, a well-rounded balance between what you eat and a regular exercise routine is the best for overall wellness. However, I do believe that one out-weighs the other.
What you put in your body is more important than how you move. I learned this the hard way…. Here are my reasons:
  • You can’t out-train/run a bad diet.
    • There is no amount of exercise you can do to make the effects of bad food go away. Your workouts will fight with your diet. Exercise might start to feel like punishment or a chore.
    • When you eat well, your workouts and your diet work together to make your body a lean machine!
    • Abs are made in the kitchen, not on the floor doing crunches.
  • When you workout big, you eat big.
    • An increase in exercise is going to increase your appetite. You lift more, you run more, you eat more.
    • Even if you’re eating grapes, you can eat too many and that will put you in a caloric surplus. (Side note: caloric surplus = eating more calories than you burn)  Calories in add up quicker than calories out.
  • You’ll plateau.
    • Working out more will initially burn more calories, but you will eventually plateau. You’ll continue to kill yourself in the gym with no results because the body will adjust for stability.
    • When you have a special event coming, throw some extra cardio in about two weeks prior and you’ll see results immediately. This will not be the case if you over-do it on the reg.
  • Sustainable energy.
    • There’s no doubt that a workout will give you an immediate gush of energy. However, proper nutrition and well-timed meals will fuel you with a steady supply.
Don’t get me wrong, exercise is so important for so many reasons: reduces risk of heart disease, bone health, improves mental health & mood just to name a few. I am a HUGE exercise advocate. But if you’re looking for immediate results, locking up your diet will be much more beneficial than spending 3 hours in the gym.
Skip the cookie snack and the extra run, gain the extra time and a sense of accomplishment because you said “no.”
Featured below is a cookie snack I did not skip because it was from Levain Bakery in NYC. Heard of it? It’s the bomb. I mean, c’mon. Look at this thing! All about that #balance.
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4 thoughts on “Diet vs. Exercise: Which is More Important?

  1. Thanks for these great points. You’re right, I can’t outrun a bad diet. I’ve done this many times in my life.

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