If you’re tryng to lose weight, or simply get your body into a healthier and leaner condition, then it is likely that you’ve come across some conflicting information. Perform a quick search about ways to lose weight, build muscle, or simple live more healthfully, and you will be confronted with various systems of dieting or exercise. If you’ve been left somewhat confused about which is more effective – diet or exercise – then perhaps you are asking the wrong question.
Whatever your goal is, and whatever kind of shape you are currently in, the truth is that you need both good nutrition and exercise together. One should not go without the other, and the best results will always come when you understand the complementary relationship that exists between both.
Nutrition and Exercise Are Synergistic
It wouldn’t be a lie to say that dieting can help you to lose weight, even without exercise. For someone who is trying to improve their muscle tone, it could also be said that resistance training could provide them with fair results, even without making drastic changes to their diet. However, when both good nutrition and exercise are combined, they create a synergy that allows for results that are better and more noticeable than either diet or exercise alone.
Some publications and even some fitness professionals might recommend making slow and gradual changes. For example, you could be recommended to begin dieting for a month or two, before ramping up your daily exercise. While this might deliver results, they will take time, and your effort will be less effective. When you combine dieting, even with moderate exercise, it is possible to lose weight and get in better shape.
Two Examples of Complementary Diet and Exercise
Weight loss can be achieved by following a simple formula. Consume fewer calories, move more, and the calorie deficit will allow your body to consume your energy stores, and that is where the weight loss comes from. This is true, no matter what. As long as your diet consists of fewer calories than you exert, you will lose weight.
Of course, it is never quite that simple.
There are right and wrong ways to lose weight. Dieting to a point where your intake is less than your basic energy expenditure would mean that your body begins to eat into muscle tissue, helping you to lose weight, but without losing stored fat. In a situation like this, exercise with diet would make a massive difference. Adjusting your nutrition to meet regular cardio and light resistance training would mean that you can lose weight (and fat reserves), while developing and maintaining muscle. Muscle is the kind of weight that you do want to carry, because it raises your metabolism and a leaner body can burn calories more efficiently. Losing weight while maintaining muscle will also ensure that you don’t suffer from rebound weight gain if you ever become complacent with your dieting or exercise.
A similar scenario would exist for somebody who wants to train to build muscle. Tissue repair requires protein. Resistance exercises on a normal diet would give you results that plateau relatively quickly. Adjusting your diet to include a higher ratio of protein to carbohydrates, will mean that you can consume the right amount of calories, while also providing your body with the amino acids that it needs to increase muscle mass and definition.
It is important to note that proper dieting does not just mean calorie restriction. The best diets will recommend nutrient dense foods that provide you with the right balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamins and minerals.
With just these two examples, it is quite clear that nutrition and exercise are deeply connected, and while one without the other might be effective in the short term, the results are never as noticeable, or as sustainable as when you combine the two.