I’m sure we’ve all heard of the expressions ‘Abs are made in the kitchen’ or ‘You can’t out-train a bad diet’ but let’s try and quantify this in terms of diet vs training on a weekly basis.
Let’s assume you’ve got a regular exercise program and you’re training 5 times a week incorporating resistance training and cardio exercise, and you’re hitting those training sessions with intent and purpose.
Now, whether or not you’re a fan of eating little and often, let’s assume you’re still managing to eat 5 times a day (3 main meals, plus 2 snacks across the day)
Training frequency per week: 5
Eating frequency per week: 35
Already you can see that you’re eating a lot more frequently than you’re training, which means a lot more food decisions across the week that you need to be getting right in order to maximize your fat loss/muscle growth potential as well as supporting your body’s repair and development from a fitness point of view.
What would happen if you continued training and stopped caring about what you ate? Your workouts would be less productive, you’d have less energy and your body wouldn’t look any better. That gym membership would be money down the drain.
What would happen if you stopped exercising but continued to eat a balanced and nutritious diet?
You would certainly still see improvements in body composition from a fat loss perspective.
I’m not encouraging anybody to stop exercising, but to understand that in order to positively change your body composition you need to view diet as supporting training and not training to compensate for a bad diet.
Get out of the mindset that you’re going to the gym so that you can eat that pizza afterward and not feel bad.
Everything you eat in order to support your training WILL positively affect the way you look. If every time you plan a meal you think about it from a supporting function, you really can’t go wrong. Whole foods, Protein rich sources, Fats rich in Omega 3, Cruciferous Vegetables and Leafy Greens, Unrefined carbohydrate sources. Remember the 9 essential amino acids that we need to get from food? Miss out on those and you’re not giving your body the best opportunity to grow.
On the flip side, consider what you WON’T be providing your body with if you make bad food decisions. If your body can’t use it, it will store it as fat or reject it. How often do you experience that ‘carb coma’ feeling from eating too much-processed food? A lot of us just assume that’s our body’s natural response and it’s normal. Well, yes, it’s natural, but it’s a natural response to unnatural action. Your body is effectively saying ‘I can’t handle what you’ve just put in me, I’m working harder than I need to to try and digest this and now I need a break’
I’m a big fan of the 80% rule – make great food decisions at least 80% of the time and allow yourself treats every now and then. Remember, make it part of your lifestyle and not your life. Enjoy little luxuries – they will help you stay on track in the long run as opposed to short-term restrictive diets that aim to give you a quick fix option.
In summary, train with intent and purpose, eat to support your training, enjoy your lifestyle and look and feel amazing!