If you’re changing what you do for exercise, but not nutrition, you’re stupid.
There, have I gotten your attention?
Me being a jerk aside… Many of us have gotten sucked into the Instagram fitness culture where we see people spending grueling hours in the gym assuming that’s just how you get fit and healthy.
Except it isn’t.
In fact, it’s one of the worst ways to lose weight by itself.
Here’s a 2009 study that agrees.
Weight Loss WITHOUT Changing Your Diet –
What The 2009 Study Found
If you’re thinking you can “just burn it off” after eating crappy food, you’re in for a rude awakening.
A 2009 study in the British Journal of Sports medicine had overweight people on a 12 week exercise regime (5x a week) without changing their diet.
So this was roughly 60 hours of total exercise – around 5 hours a week – and pay attention to these numbers.
They lost about 5 pounds — however, 26/58 of the participants only showed an average weight loss of about 2 pounds.
That’s 50% of the participants! (three months of working out for two pounds lost?!)
These people literally spent 60 hours of exercise… for two pounds lost.
Now you tell me, is 30 hours working out for one pound lost a good return?
Does it sound fun?
Just from a practical perspective, let’s say you eat a cookie that is 100 calories. What if you wanted to exercise and burn it off?
A 200 pound guy at moderate intensity on a stairmaster would need to workout for 10-15 mutes. What about 250 calories of a soft drink? 40+ minutes.
There’s the other thing too: exercising increases your appetite.
Why Exercise Can Be a Big Facepalm
40 minutes to work off that soda? you gotta be joking me.
Like I said, it’s a natural tendency – you work out to lose weigh, right?
It sounds so logical.
And if you looked out the window every summer at all the runners outside, you’d think it were a fact.
First, there’s the fact that working off calories is insanely hard, just like exercising for 40 minutes to work off a soda.
Okay, that’s cool.
So what if we have a soda and a cookie?
Workout for an hour every day?
And what if it’s our birthday and we end up having a slice of cake or two also? Spend two or three hours a day in the gym?
The math just doesn’t work.
Plus, I’ve profiled it here about 30+ times with many of my successful students: change just a few nutritional and life habits, and the rewards can be incredibly disproportionate.
It also doesn’t account for the fact that food additives (and sugar) have other negative affects in the body besides just increasing bodyweight. They also influence disease, inflammation, hormones, and more.
Your Tiny Habit(s) For Today
So if making sure we eat the right stuff accounts for 70,80,90% of our results… do your daily actions reflect that?
In other words take a look at your schedule this week.
How much of that time is spent exercising, and how much is spent preparing ahead of time your system for eating healthy?
Do you spend four hours working out, but only one day a week cooking at home?
Do you eat out every day and then just try to “work out hard” after you eat poorly?
Sit down for a minute and really think about how you’re dividing your time.
Is 90% in the right quadrant it should be in?
Have you fallen into this trap before? Tell me your thoughts below.
The study mentioned: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2009/09/29/bjsm.2009.065557.abstract