Brian White | Fitness
Exercise by itself is not going to be an effective weight-loss strategy for an individual. You really need to combine exercise with better nutrition. In fact, a healthy diet will actually do more to promote weight loss than exercise.
That is a pretty serious statement coming from a guy who supports his family by getting people to exercise.
But it’s the truth.
If a client comes to me with a goal to lose weight – especially significant weight – and does not want to discuss making nutrition changes, I will not take them on as a client because I can’t help them.
But if they are willing to make the right nutrition changes, weight loss comes and exercise can be used to accelerate the burn rate. Exercise and nutrition should be inseparable for any weight-loss goal.
Jack LaLanne, the father of fitness, famously said, “Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.”
It is the only formula that is tried and tested, that will work for everyone across the board. Sure, you may have a friend that started going to the gym seven days a week and lost 30 pounds without any significant dietary changes, but they are the exception, not the rule.
Most people focus on the exercise portion of a complete program because it is easier to control and focus on. When you are ready to attack a weight-loss goal we tend to gravitate towards goals like going to the gym four times a week, going for a jog first thing every morning or doing a body pump class every weeknight after work.
These are good habits to build, but alone they will not get you to achieve your goals and, more importantly, keep you there. We focus on the exercise parts because we can wrap our heads around scheduling a workout. It’s much easier to set aside time to exercise each day than it is to plan out your daily nutrition plan.
Nutrition is a battle fought on many fronts, and can be quite unpredictable and hard to plan. Things like going out to eat, hectic schedules and putting meals together the night before take a lot of work and planning; not to mention the difficulty in trying to make good decisions when you are starving or stressed. But the benefits are huge if you can take control of your nutrition.
You can never out-exercise a bad diet. We could spend hours talking about nutrition, yet I want to leave you with some basic principles and habits to help you focus more on your diet.
Figure out your single worst daily habit when it comes to nutrition and change it. Generally, we all have something we do every day that sabotages our entire day. Two glasses of wine or beer will add up to big-time weight gain over time. If you have a couple of glasses of wine when you get home from work, try having four glasses of water before you get home from work so you are hydrated. When you get home, go for a quick, 15-minute walk before you can “settle in” to your wine routine.
Change your last meal of the day to a vegetable salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing, and a little bit of protein if you tend to overeat at dinnertime.
Journal your entire food intake for three straight days; you’ll be amazed at how much food you forget you have actually eaten. This exercise will help you become self aware of some bad habits you may not have realized have been sabotaging your diet. Studies have repeatedly shown that people who are overweight do some amount of unconscious eating.
Dominate your plate with vegetables. Whatever meal you are having, make sure vegetables are the main feature, or at least 50 percent of the entire meal. Add in a little protein and some fat and you have got a complete meal.
Perhaps the most important nutritional change you can make is to eliminate sugar to as close to zero as possible. If your eating is out of control or you aren’t able to control cravings, cut down on your hidden sugar intake. Look for these sugar alias: fructose, sucrose, glucose, dextrose, galactose, lactose, maltose, cane crystals, turbinado, molasses, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, sorbitol, xylitol and maple syrup. Check all packaged foods; you will be surprised.
This last tip is perhaps the most important one I can give you. If you think sugar could be a culprit in your excess weight, please set aside 90 minutes to watch the YouTube video “The Bitter Truth,” a presentation from Dr. Robert Lustig, University of California, San Francisco professor of pediatrics and endocrinology.
—Brian White owns BWF, San Diego’s Premier Training Service located in Hillcrest. He runs boot camps in Balboa Park and trains clients in Diverge Gym. Go to youshouldbedoingit.com to read his blog, or take his seven-day video challenge to get back into healthy habits. Contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his website.