Diet or Training? Which is Better?

weight loss, rapid weight loss, tone it up, cardio is bad,

One of the biggest pitfalls in women (and men’s) ‘toning’ journeys is their diet.

Diet- is everything.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the gym will help you get that tight, toned derriere you are after, plus also assist in strengthening your bones and providing a great release of endorphins… but it will not help you progress in leaps and bounds if your diet is not completely in place.

By the same token, when I see articles telling you that a Mars Bar will require you to run for 60 minutes on the treadmill in order to burn it off – I know the only useful impact this knowledge has on me is that it scares me to reconsider my food choices on the whole. Generally, these articles severely undermine the complexity of us humans and that the whole calories in = calories out equation is somewhat flawed.

Do Calories Matter?


 Are they the ultimate solution to weight loss?


If only – then I could indulge in three chocolate bars a day, chuck in a few protein shakes and meet my caloric requirements.  That is – so long as I burn off the equivalent calories in doing back to back spin classes.

Quality of food is just as important as quantity of food.

 And if you think you can eat anything you want so long as you burn it off at the gym – here are a few reasons, why this notion is somewhat flawed.

1) If you had to focus on diet or exercise for weight loss – diet would win hands down. As long as your diet is bad, exercise will never be your best friend in fat loss. Your diet has more impact on your metabolism than your treadmills hours.  (Note the word fat loss, not weight loss – the two are highly different). While exercise, weight training particularly, allows you to fine tune your goals, by ensuring you are losing fat not muscle tissue – if I had to choose between adding an extra 20 minutes to my gym time or going home to prepare the weeks meals ahead of time, I would opt for the latter any day.

2) How we exercise is a vital consideration for the final result. If we adopt the calories in vs. calories out mantra than how we exercise is irrelevant, so long as we burn calories. However, weight training has a far different affect on our hormones than cardio. Weight training increases growth hormone levels, which assist in creating muscles and develops our fat burning ability, even when at rest. Rule number two then is that weight training wins out over cardio for fat loss.

3) When you eat bad food and try to exercise it off your body will reflect this. Often bad diets lead to you looking more bloated; retaining water and you will find it hard to be toned. Trying to use extensive cardio to out train your bad diet will not get you the look you are after. Eat less (crap) and do less will give you a much better physique.

 4) Doing too much cardio damages your adrenals and your metabolism. If you let exercise be the determiner for your weight, then you fall into the cardio trap – the more cardio you do, the more you feel compelled to do it to keep your results. And so you are stuck in a rut, where your body expects a certain amount of cardio or else you gain. Managing your fat loss through diet, in the long run, is much less stressful, far more empowering and will do wonders to ensure your metabolism is on fire and able to cope with a weekly indulgence or two.

 5) Long duration cardio makes you hungry. If you push your body through long cardio sessions, your body releases the hunger hormone ghrelin. Furthermore, over a long period of time your physical activity can affect your neurotransmitters, which have massive impacts on cravings. This is often why people recovering from severe restrictive eating disorders continue to have issues with binging. The solution? Opt for short duration, high Intensity interval training, no longer than 30 minutes if you choose to add a little cardio into your exercise regime.

The take home? Use the gym wisely, efficiently and relish its ability to provide you an inspired training community.

Do not let it become your only weapon in weight loss – otherwise your metabolism will be the biggest loser and not you.


2 thoughts on “Diet or Training? Which is Better?

  1. Glad you mentioned the hormonal aspect of weight loss – the more research I do, the more i’m convinced that obesity is actually a whole body/hormonal imbalance, and only by reinstating our proper cellular signalling can we hope to overcome it!
    Of course, a traditional diet, smart exercise, better sleep…etc, all help facilitate this.

    It’s so interesting that the real focus of ‘working out’ should be re-sensitising cells to insulin, releasing GH…all those things you talked about, NOT burning calories. Such a philosophical change!

    Another great post Holly 🙂

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