Diet or Exercise: What Comes First?

The million-dollar question pertaining to health and fitness is whether diet is more important than exercise or vice versa. The answer that is in everyone’s best interest is that a combination of both is best but you want a straight answer, correct? Well, the winner is diet. Yes, despite popular belief, you cannot eat junk and work hard in the gym to compensate for doing so. Below are 4 reasons why.

Nutrition Supports Weight Loss and Maintenance More Effectively

You know how everyone says abs begin in the kitchen? Well, that’s true for a slimmer body too. As said, if you eat junk and exercise, you’ll get little to no results but making the transition to a healthy diet will yield very impressive results. The best part is, doing so is simple. All you have to do is focus on the three macronutrients which are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. When creating meals, start with a protein. This can include:

  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Lean beef
  • Eggs
  • Pork chops
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

Next, you need a complex carb on your plate. Like protein, there are a lot of options including quinoa, whole grain rice, leafy greens, other vegetables, oats, beans, and legumes. Once that is done, round out your plate with some fat. You can use a healthy oil like olive or coconut for cooking, add nuts to your meal, seeds or some avocado. As a result, you will feel full, stay full, provide your body with tons of nutrients, and lose weight or maintain a healthy weight depending on the number of calories needed to support your goal.

Eating Well Increases Energy

Diet is also more important than exercise when it comes to energy. The three macronutrients discussed above are calories that fuel your body. Better yet, they provide a slow release rather than the quick boost and crash simple carbs offer. Although each gram of protein delivers 4 calories of energy (the same as carbs) complex carbohydrates and fat are the body’s preferred fuel sources. In addition to providing essential macronutrients, eating well delivers energizing micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Although needed in small amounts, micros like magnesium help the body convert glucose into energy.

Food Drives Fitness

Speaking of energy, food is the fuel source that drives exercise. Without proper nutrition, effective exercise is impossible. Protein, energy from complex carbohydrates and healthy fats are needed to achieve fitness goals. Otherwise, performance is considerably compromised deeming the physical activity relatively pointless.

Chronic Disease Prevention

Although more effective together, diet comes before exercise when it comes to preventing chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. The primary cause of these diseases is not a sedentary lifestyle. Of course, it is a contributor but what we eat either puts us on the right or wrong path. These diseases occur because of diets high in saturated fat, refined sugars, and all the convenient yet unhealthy processed foods out there with little to no nutrition value. Think about it this way. People fall into these poor dietary habits for whatever reason, these habits stick and before you know it, you’ve been depriving yourself of proper nutrition for years if not decades. This takes a toll and, in some cases, leads to serious disease.

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