Which is more important?
There are a number of sayings regarding this topic:
“Abs are made in the kitchen”
“You can’t outexercise a bad diet”
and they all point in the same direction – what you put in your mouth is more important than how much you exercise.
But most of the time this topic is not discussed completely enough to be understood. Besides just sounding really cool, the sayings above do nothing to explain why it is more important to eat right than exercise.
Simply put, exercising and eating right are both important factors when deciding to not only live healthier but also change what your body looks and feels like. You need to place sufficient attention on both to see the changes and get the results that you want.
However, there’s a lot of research that has come to light that shows that there are certain times when it is necessary to focus on the one aspect over the other. Here are just some of those scenarios:
Beginner / First-Timer
If you have just decided to take the step to get healthier and fitter, is important for you to concentrate on improving what you eat first. Because most beginners have not been watching what they eat, any significant change that leads to a more protein- and good carb-filled diet will actually result in a lot of changes. This process also helps you set up a good nutrition foundation to build your workout on in order to achieve the changes you want at the end.
The simple process of cutting out takeouts, not skipping meals and eating more vegetables can actually lead to more changes than training alone could have provided.
Intermediate / Advanced
If you already have or have had your nutrition correctly in place for a while, then your focus needs to be on how you workout in order to see changes. Getting stricter on your foods may not actually change much of your physique but adding in supersets and more intense strength training sessions can significantly change how you look. This, of course, may not always be true for bodybuilders and fitness competitors who use a combined change of diet and exercise to achieve a certain look, but this is hardly ever maintained for longer than a few months.
If you are just looking to drop a dress size for an event in the future, then your focus needs to be on what you eat. Like the beginner trainer, if you haven’t always watched your diet then just making a few changes will help you meet that goal. And if you are an advanced trainer, then you’ll need to start concentrating on the specific macronutrients (fats, carbs and proteins) that you consume in order to see where you can improve and whether it could be in your best interest to start lowering your daily total calorie intake.
As you can see above, nutrition is a necessary foundation to helping you not only achieve your physical body goals but also vastly improve your health. It’s for this reason that nutrition is deemed the most important of the two.
You must always be mindful of what your overall goals are in order to correctly determine where your focus needs to be.