Why you need to pair exercise with healthy eating

Fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand. Combining a good, healthy diet with a well-planned exercise programme will help you reach your health and fitness goals.

All to often I am faced with clients wanting to know why they aren’t losing weight despite exercising regularly, or even worse, why they are gaining weight. The thing is, exercise in itself, is not enough to help you reach your weight loss goals. You must have heard the saying “you can’t out exercise a bad diet.” What you eat plays a major role in whether or not you will lose weight; even if you are exercising every day. So today I want to talk about why you need to pair your exercise with a good, healthy diet.

Healthy eating accounts for about 70-80% of the work and exercise then makes up the rest. I think it is important to make it clear that exercise and a healthy diet need to be a part of your lifestyle. No fad diet or exercise plan is going to help you in the long run. They may offer a short-term solution but for long term maintenance, you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. Not only will leading a healthy lifestyle aid you in losing weight, it will make you feel good as well.

No matter what shape you are in or what your goals are, you need to let go of the idea that just because you exercise you can eat whatever you want. Now I am not referring to the odd treat here and there, we are all human and there is nothing wrong with having a treat. I am talking about regularly eating processed, fatty and sugary foods.

These types of foods are detrimental to your health, the effects of these foods go beyond making you gain weight, they also have an effect on things such as your overall health, energy levels and susceptibility to illness. These are effects that exercise alone cannot counteract. You need to see exercise and diet as things that go hand in hand rather than as two individual components. No matter how hard you push at the gym, a bad diet is going to override all that hard work. However, in saying that, it is also important to remember that exercise offers a whole host of benefits that stem far beyond weight loss and muscle gain. So while for a lot of people, weight loss is the ultimate goal, exercise is not just for weight loss or even aesthetics, it is for better health.

Let’s have a look at calories, everything you eat contains calories and each person requires a certain amount of calories each day (this amount differs from person to person). In order to lose weight, you need to be burning more calories than you eat. The opposite is then true, if you eat more calories than you are able to burn, you will gain weight. If you are looking to maintain your weight, your calories intake would then need to match your calorie expenditure. Although the body burns calories in it’s normal functioning, exercise helps to burn calories over and above that amount.

Very often, people tend to overestimate the amount of calories that are burned during a workout. As a result, they tend to overeat as they feel that they have earned it by working out so hard. It then becomes a vicious cycle of overeating and then exercising in an attempt to undo the damage and this leads you to becoming complacent as you are not seeing the results that you want. On the other side of the scale is people who under eat and put themselves through intense workouts only to also get no results because the body now begins to store fat rather than burn it.

This is why it is so important to find the right balance between exercise and healthy eating. You need to ensure that you are nourishing your body with the right vitamins and nutrients. The food that you eat needs to fuel your body to function optimally and provide you with the energy for physical activity. Poor nutrition will leave you feeling sluggish and with very little desire to exercise.

So my final message for you today is: Build a healthy, manageable lifestyle for yourself that will leave you feeling fitter, healthier and happier!