Part of me doesn’t want to write this–in doing so I have to make a big admission.
I’m a coach and personal trainer–my job is to design programs that work and meet a desired end. If the end is fat loss, however, my exquisitely crafted program plays the understudy. And here it comes…
Diet > Exercise
It’s true. Well, when it comes to fat loss.
Food quality, calories in vs. calories out and macronutrient balance are more important than a given fat loss exercise program–regardless of the diet/nutrition plan.
The plan, however, can’t be disregarded; and there are plenty of them available: carb cycling, carb back loading and intermittent fasting are a few popular ones. Typically I wouldn’t tell someone to subscribe to a given philosophy and forsake all others, but, for people struggling with diet, it works. Subscribing to a philosophy normalizes the diet process.
Let’s say that Johnny B. Fit decides to practice carb cycling. He trains on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday–each time at mid-day. Johnny eats most of his carbs in his workout window–a few in the morning before he trains and the majority in the two hour window immediately following his workout. The rest of the day, and during his off-days, he eats protein, fat and green vegetables.
What can we learn from Johnny?
Let’s bullet list it:
- Johnny normalized his macronutrient intake–balancing them by keeping carbs close to training. He calculated his needs based on his current weight, desired weight and his expected energy expenditure. Macronutrients balanced? Check.
- By calculating his energy needs, Johnny made sure he’s not eating too many calories. Since he planned–he’ll also be consuming roughly the same amount of calories at every meal. Calories in vs. Calories out? Check.
- Johnny eats mostly lean meats, fat and vegetables–it’s hard to argue with his food choices. His carbs, besides those in his post-workout shake, are from whole foods and are low in glycemic load. Good food choices? Check.
The theme persists, everything about Johnny’s carb cycling plan oozes consistency; he knows what to eat and when to eat it. He’s also created a sustainable plan–he could eat this way for the rest of his life by adjusting his macronutrient balance and overall calories to match his energy expenditure.
Energy expenditure–now that’ts my job. Sure, diet is more important than exercise for fat loss–but that doesn’t mean that it’s not at all important. Training is designed to expend energy to meet the desired goal. If your training to get shredded like gouda, then you’re not going to train like a full-meet powerlifter. But if I keep going, I’m going to start rambling. We’ll catch up on the exercise and energy expenditure stuff later.