Exercise VS Diet - What's More Important to Lose Body Fat
I've recently started designing exercise programs for clients and it's gotten me thinking: what's more important, exercise or diet? I've been thinking about my clients, as I want them to reach their goals. I don't want them to contact me in 4 weeks time and say, "Maddy, I look the same, what am I doing wrong?" I know nutrition is really important, but I didn't stop to consider just HOW important it is.
A study done in 2003 by Dr Gary Homman, examined 56 girls aged between 14-17 years old, who were embarking on a 4 month wellness program. They exercised 2 hours a day taking part in activities such as basketball, hiking, circuit training and step aerobics. They ate foods approved by the USDA food guide, but that's not to say the food was healthy and nutritious.
You'd expect that after working out for 14 hours a week, with no opportunities to booze, buy take away food, or binge on ice cream, that the participants would lose weight.
The participants actually GAINED weight. They gained an average 6lbs and increased their weight circumference by 1/2 an inch.
But hold up! These girls only did cardio style training. They didn't do any resistance training so that's why they didn't lose weight. Keep reading.
In another study conducted by researchers Stephen Ball and Anne Bolhfner, they compared 2 groups for 12 weeks to measure their weight loss (includes fat and muscle). The first group did no exercise and followed the Weight Watcher's program and the second group did at least 3 resistance training sessions a week and 3 cardio sessions a week. The researchers didn't monitor either groups as in the real world, there is not much monitoring! (Unless you sign up for my guides of course, where I'm there for you every step of the way ;))
These were both groups results:
- The Weight Watcher group lost 4.1 kg (9.0lb)
- The Fitness Centre group only lost 1.3 kg (2.7 lb)
So technically the Weight Watcher's group could have binged on ice cream during a marathon House of Cards session and technically the Fitness Centre group could have skipped all their cardio sessions and cheated reps. But you can't deny, nutrition had the biggest influence on weight lost.
So why bother with exercise? Don't cancel your gym membership just yet! There was something really interesting to come out of the study, there was no difference in body fat percentage between groups. So really, there was no real "winner" at all. This is why the number on the scale is NOT IMPORTANT guys.
Take me for example. I have been eating healthy and working out consistently now for 18 months. You know how much weight I've lost? 0kgs. During this whole time, even in the first month, I did not lose any weight. Since then, I have gained 4kgs! And I am so proud of this! This is 4kgs of muscle!
I'll finish up with this study. A study was conducted in 2014 and researchers examined 48 randomised control trials to try and decide which diet is the best to lose weight. Paleo, Atkins, Keto, Vegan, it didn't matter, what mattered is: the diet that you can stick to the longest, is the one that will help you lose weight.
In short, if you want to achieve the best results possible you need to combine an effective resistance training program with an effective nutrition program. You can not do one without the other. Exercise and diet doesn't have to mean cardio and celery sticks, choose a diet that you believe you can stick with and an exercise program that you will enjoy!
Love Maddy x