I’m going to tell you something that could save you hours in the gym and weeks of wasted work for little to no results? Ready? OK, here it goes: you can’t exercise the weight off. (allowing a pause here for every woman to shriek in pure horror and disappointment)
Don’t get me wrong. There are SOME people who start exercising and lose weight, but normally they are also trying to eat better too. OR, maybe they were extremely overweight and sedentary so their new active lifestyle was a very drastic change for them. Whatever the case, it’s rare and exercise can only get you so far when it comes to weight loss. Weight loss requires cutting back on the calories taken in, unless you want to run 5-10 miles a day to get in the 500-1000 calorie deficit that is required for weight loss.
Unfortunately, many people join a gym and hire a trainer in hopes of losing weight and rely on those 3 workouts a week to do all the work. I only WISH this worked! Being a trainer would be awesome, everyone would get results and the world would be a happy fit and trim place. But it just doesn’t work like that.
Think about it. Do you really expect a one hour workout to erase all the poor choices you make for the rest of the 23 hours in your day? Does that even make sense? However, many people are doing just that. They expect their 3-5 hours in the gym each week to erase all the extra calories they eat over the 168 hours a week. Do the math! 5 hours vs 168 hours. If we were gambling, I’m pretty sure we’d all bet on the 168 hours winning the fight.
“You can’t compete with what you eat”
Think of it this way. If 30 minutes on the treadmill only burns 300 calories, but you can eat a 300-calorie pastry in 5 minutes, can you see how that math will never work? (PS: 1 blueberry scone at Starbucks is 460 CALORIES!!) So for every 5 minutes of pastry-eating, you’d need to work 30 minutes on the treadmill? Yeah, that ain’t happening.
It doesn’t have to be poor choices either. Most people just eat too much. They may eat healthy, but they eat a LOT of healthy food. And, the more they workout, the more they mentally think they can afford to eat.
Of course I’m just using these examples to help you grasp the whole exercise vs diet concept, do don’t get freaked out. This is also written for people who need to lose weight. Maintenance mode is totally different. When you are maintenance mode you aren’t trying to be in a caloric deficit so you can eat more. I can order fries if I want to and I probably won’t gain weight because I’m in maintenance. Now, if I did it every day, that’s another thing! However, I keep my calories low throughout the day so I CAN cheat here and there and not gain weight. I may also do an extra cardio here or there to make up for any extra calories, but I never can be completely irresponsible for several days straight or I will blow up quick. 😉
Sadly, most people don’t want to give up their simple little pleasures – even for a much BIGGER and GREATER reward, like a fit and trim body. They feel like they “must have chocolate” or “can’t give up wine”. Maybe their goal is too far away that they don’t truly realize what that glass of wine or nightly ice cream is costing them. They don’t realize how fast they’d reach their goal if they just stuck to both diet and exercise.
So, to make themselves feel better they decide to exercise. Working out is awesome and you can absolutely get in better shape. You can have a firmer body, stronger muscles, better stamina and more energy BUT you may not lose one pound if you are burning as many calories as you are eating. Diet is required for weight loss.
The same way you can’t eat a bunch of protein and magically grow muscle, you have to make sure you are doing what is required to reach your goal. If you want to lose body fat and lose weight, you have to diet. If you want to get fit, you have to exercise. If you want a better health report, you probably need to do both. If you want to look fit, you need to do both.
Most people act as if they are in maintenance mode – exercising and eating whatever they want. However, most people need to be in weight loss mode, which is dieting and exercising. The sooner you do it right, the sooner you can be in maintenance mode – but just a thinner fitter you in maintenance mode!
TIP: The longer you put off dieting, the longer you put off results. Go ahead and start today! You can lose 8-12lbs in one month with a great low-cal diet and exercise program. Do the math! How much do you need to lose? Isn’t it worth a few weeks of discipline!? I think it is!! You’ll be SO glad you did! Otherwise, 5 years may fly by and you are still the same weight because you weren’t willing to work as hard in the kitchen as you were in the gym.