Food vs Exercise – The importance of balance

Hints & Tips

Apple and weight

Eating well and exercising regularly: there’s no doubt that both contribute towards a healthier lifestyle and are great for your waistline. There’s a constant debate in the health and fitness world whether diet or exercise is the most important factor when it comes to losing weight and being healthy. With so much being said, written about and advertised when it comes to keeping fit and eating clean, one can be forgiven for feeling somewhat overwhelmed.

Now that Christmas is out of the way and the new year is upon us, a huge number of us will be recharging with well-intended resolutions to eat better and get to the Gym more regularly. But with just 8% of us sticking to those all important new year’s resolutions, we’re left wondering; is it because we don’t really know our facts from our fiction?

So, food vs. exercise: which one wins in the battle to beat the New Year bulge and will go the furthest to achieving a healthier you? Let’s take a look…

Food

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We all know the drill: cut back on processed “stuff”, eat more fruit and vegetables and try your hardest to stay away from sugary drinks. Sounds easy right? But actually, there’s more science to eating well and keeping fit than you might think and if you’re looking to lose weight, knowing the ins and outs could be the difference between succeeding and failing.

Whilst some claim carbohydrates are bad for you and should be avoided at all costs, it’s all about a balance in our eyes. Some carbs are naturally not as good for you, such as white bread and pasta, but we need a certain amount of carbohydrates in our diet in order to function properly, particularly if we’re exercising regularly. Carb-cycling is a great habit to get into if you’re looking to shift a few pounds; it’s a process whereby carbohydrates in your diet are used as energy for your body on days you’re hitting the Gym or working out. The carbs will help to replenish your glucose and fight fatigue so they aren’t as bad as you might think. If, on the other hand, you’re having a ‘rest’ day, your body won’t need to consume as many carbohydrates as you won’t be expending so much energy. It’s a great cycle to get into if your goal is to lose some weight.

It’s not just carbohydrates that get a bad rap: sugar has hit the headlines repeatedly recently as we’re told time and time again to cut out the sweet stuff. Yes; consuming too much chocolate, fizzy pop and processed puddings is not ideal for anyone, particularly those who are wanting to lose weight. But naturally-occurring sugars, such as those found in fruit, aren’t all bad and just need to be eaten in moderation. A totally sugar-free lifestyle sounds great but can be unachievable, particularly for those with a busy routine so it’s better to focus on cutting down your intake rather than quitting altogether.

Many people also think that skipping a meal will help them reach their goal weight but this can be more damaging to your health than you realise. Read our blog post on why breakfast is the most important meal of the day here.

Exercise

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It’s hardly a revelation that exercise is a huge contributor to weight loss and overall fitness. But it’s the way you work out that’s so important. Whilst you might think that spending hours on a treadmill or rowing machine will be improving your health, that’s not always the case.

Like your diet, exercise is all about moderation and variation and sticking to the same routine over and over again will inevitably mean your body will get used to the effects and therefore become immune to your hard work.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has become a hugely popular way to exercise in recent months thanks to its huge range of benefits. Many of us admit to finding exercise boring and often, it’s our routine that’s the problem. Mixing it up is hugely beneficial to not just your body but your mind; you’ll keep motivated, stay excited and remain positive. That’s why HIIT is such a great way to train; it involves short bursts of lots of different exercises to focus on every part of your body. The variation and quick-paced style of workout means there’s less chance of you getting bored and more likelihood that you’ll workout for longer.

It’s also important to know your target areas and the best exercise to truly maximise your workout. Whilst cardio is fantastic for overall fat burn and increasing your fitness levels as a whole, weight training is definitely the answer if you’re looking to tone up and gain strength. The weights area might seem like a scary place but trust us; once you know what you’re doing and are confident in your workout, it will feel like your second home. Take the time to get to know the instructors, ask for help where needed and never feel threatened by others lifting heavier weights than you. It’s a journey not a race.

The verdict

Everyone’s goal is different and everyone undertakes their own personal weight-loss or fitness journey. Finding what works best for you can take time and patience but once you’ve cracked the winning formula, the results you’ll reap will be amazing. Having a clean, conscious diet and a varied workout routine go hand in hand for an overall super-healthy lifestyle and neither is more beneficial than the other.

You might already be eating really healthily but not exercising enough or perhaps you’re working out five times a week but your kitchen cupboards are full of processed, sugary foods. Make sure that both areas of your life are up to scratch and work in harmony together. Only then will you truly see the results you’re after.

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