Diet vs. Exercise: What Matters More?

Diet vs. Exercise: What Matters More?

Last week I discussed many of the benefits of exercise beyond weight loss. The impact exercise has on health and longevity cannot be understated. But you’re human, you probably have some body composition goals. You may want to lose 10-15lbs, or see some muscle definition in your arms or legs. 

So, when it comes to dropping lbs or shredding body fat, what’s takes the cake? Exercise or diet? 

A recent study by respected researchers Brad Schoenfield, Alan Aragon, James Krieger, Miller, and Mull tried to finally put that question to rest. 

Their study divided 40 premenopausal women into 4 categories: Resistance Training-only, Diet-only, RT+Diet, and control. As an additional measure, each group consumed the same amount of protein per day (3.1g/kg) over the course of the 16-week study. 

At the conclusion of the study, only the Diet and RT+Diet groups saw significant changes in fat mass (5.5 and 7.26lb respectively). The RT (no diet) group increased lean body mass by an average of 4.84lbs. 

So, what did we learn? Diet alone can be an effective measure for weight loss. A sound nutrition program coupled with regular exercise produces even better results. Resistance training can only be effective in increasing segmental muscle mass, but does not produce significant fat loss. 

We have some good news, and some bad news. Simply working out consistently may help you avoid gaining fat. But, chances are you won’t see any difference in the mirror. On the other hand, eating a clean diet alone is powerful enough to elicit significant fat loss. However, without a regular training schedule, you’re missing out on all the health benefits of resistance training. 

How can we gain lean muscles, decrease body fat percentage, decrease blood pressure, increase body density, reduce our risk of heart disease/diabetes/stroke/cancer, increase longevity, improve mood, and improve appearance all at the same time? We have to train our bodies hard, and practice balanced nutrition even harder! 

If you’re not happy with the results you’re seeing, it starts with the food you choose to put in your body! It’s time to start working smarter, not harder. Adding in an extra workout when you can’t put the snacks down is just a waste of time. How much time have you wasted in the past 5 years?

We’ll never be able to out-train a bad diet. I know, life’s not fair! Until we address what’s on our plate and in our cabinets, we’re just spinning our tires. 

If you have any questions about your training or nutrition please ask!