Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Filtering by Category: "Diet vs Exercise"

Day 235 - Diet vs. Exercise


My past few blogs have been about strategizing your diet and eating healthy. But what about exercise? Which one is better? In a perfect world, everybody would exercise and consume a healthy, balanced diet on a daily basis, but we all know that is not the case.

I am also reminded of the commercials I keep seeing on the t.v. about these dieting companies that promise to lose "x number of pounds" by "certain date". A lot of these programs will allow you to see moderate to even excellent success, but they aren't necessarily always sustainable for the long haul (life).

Ideally, what I personally follow, and many others should follow too, regardless of age, is called the 90-10 plan. I heard about this a while back and felt that it really suits my lifestyle and feel like it can be possible for many to follow. Basically, it means that 90% of the time I try to eat as healthy as possible consuming fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grain carbohydrates, and lean proteins. The other 10% of the time, I cheat and consume things that are tasty and make me feel good, but really have no nutritional value whatsoever such as cookies or a few beers.

When it comes down to it, I exercise 6-7 times a week, and eat healthy 90% of the time, so that 10% doesn't even become a blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things. Not only that, but by exercising intensely, I am gaining so many other benefits that can never be attained from diet alone. I have listed a number of scenarios below and discuss what is the top dog for each category, diet or exercise!

Lose Weight
Plain and simple, it is MUCH easier to cut 500 calories out of your diet than it is to burn at the gym. To give you an example, many of you could go for a fairly intense run on a treadmill for 20-30 mins. and only burn a few hundred calories. However, by ordering from the lunch menu at the restaurant and skipping dessert could easily drop those unneeded calories. Diet and exercise are both extremely effective ways of keeping weight off, but diet wins here.
Winner: Diet

Boost Energy Levels
There is nothing like exercise to get your blood flowing. Not only that, but an intense workout causes a massive flood of "feel-good" hormones throughout your body that not only lift your mood, but also give you a boost of energy. Sure, some foods can give you a quick boost of similar hormones, but they are generally short-lived and can even cause dips in the opposite direction. Sound familiar? Eat because you're unhappy, unhappy because of what you ate?
Winner: Exercise

Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Many people will say, "Exercise is good for your heart!" The more correct phrase would be, "Exercise is good for your cardiovascular system". You know, your internal plumbing. Things like high cholesterol, high sodium, high fat, high sugary diets can cause 'clogs' in your internal plumbing that can lead to a myriad of diseases such as (but not limited to) heart disease and stroke. Exercise flushes things out with such positive effects as lowering your blood pressure and resting heart rates. Having said that, consuming healthy fatty acids like Omega-3's can reduce your heart disease risk big time. I call this one a tie!
Winner: Tie

Prevent Diabetes
This category will be a shock to many of you. You automatically assume that diet is the winner here correct? Well, not exactly. Diet goes a long way here, as you should limit your consumption of certain foods (sugary garbage), not to mention overweight individuals are at a higher risk for diabetes (refer to the first category), but healthy active muscles gobble up glucose out of the blood for energy like it's going out of style! Routine exercise goes a long way to stabilizing your blood sugar levels so even if you do go for that dessert treat every so often, you are mostly covered!
Winner: Exercise

Prevent Cancer
Consuming a mostly plant-based diet has been shown to be a major deterrent for cancer, studies also show that regular exercise strengthens this fact even more. I call this one a tie as well!
Winner: Tie

Improve Mood
Similar to the "Energy" category from above, there is nothing like exercise to boost your mood with that flood of hormones that are released from exercise. Think of it this way, exercise is so good for you that your brain wants to thank your muscles for doing such a good job, so they release these hormones and make you feel great! That's not exactly what happens, but think of it that way. Also, more and more studies have shown that exercise is a great tool to curb the symptoms of depression.
Winner: Exercise

Injury Prevention
The United States has one of the highest dairy consumption rates per capita amongst many countries in the world yet their rates of osteoporosis are also rising, what gives? Your diet can only get you so far here. You can take in tons of calcium and nutrients to make your body somewhat look good, but your body still survives by the "use it or lose it" mantra. Exercise, and especially resistance training, puts a lot of stress and strain on not only your muscles, but your bones as well. Your body is a fighter in that regard because when it sees a challenge, it attacks it head-on by strengthening your bones, ligaments and muscles so that they can withstand these forces. The more exercise and tensile strength we put our bodies under, the stronger they become and less prone to injuries caused by neglect!
Winner: Exercise

Overall Winner: Tie

Yes, a healthy diet has LOTS of positives, and by no means can be replaced. As the saying goes, "You can't out-train a bad diet!" So remember that BOTH tools, diet and exercise, are crucial to living a happy, healthy life, but you certainly cannot do this with diet alone. So when you see those commercials promising to help you lose weight by changing your diet alone, remember, that is only part of your health-body equation!

Quote of the day:
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started."
~ Mark Twain
Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com





Day 104 - Distinction in Diet vs. Exercise


If you haven't already, I strongly suggest you check out Yoni Freedhoff's blog Weighty Matters.


One of his recent blogs discusses the topic that "Weight is food. Health is fitness." I have discussed this topic before, although not everyone reads my blog, so hopefully Yoni's readers will also get the hint.

In other words, for proper weight management, diet is the key. Sure, exercise helps, in some ways, to maintain a healthy weight, but in general, the obesity epidemic is not due to the fact that we are moving less, but that we are consuming more.

On the flip side of this coin, exercise is health. Don't lie to yourself and think that exercise is not needed for a healthy lifestyle, because it is absolutely necessary. Just remember that exercise keeps the machine (your body) running smoothly while the fuel (food) you put into the machine, is what (primarily) keeps the weight at a proper level.

What I personally get a kick out of is the constant "promise" nearly everyone in the fitness industry touts. I personally see advertisements from personal trainers all the time promising that their fitness program will help folks "lose weight in 4 weeks, guaranteed!"

I am sure many of you have heard of these sayings before, but just in case you haven't, here are a few "sayings" tossed around in the health and fitness industry that are spot-on with this information:

"Abs are made in the kitchen."

"You can't out-work a bad diet."

Quote of the day:
"Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true."
~ Leon J. Suenes






Day 64 - Diet vs. Exercise: And the Winner Is....


Just in case you have missed it, I have been comparing diet vs. exercise in various topics to determine which one, once and for all, is better for total-body health. You can review the past posts here:

Part 1: Weight Loss
Part 2: Increase Energy Levels
Part 3: Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Part 4: Prevent Diabetes
Part 5: Improve Mood
Part 6: Injury Prevention
Part 7: Cancer Prevention

So without further ado, I declare the winner between diet and exercise, as the be-all, end-all to lifelong health and fitness to be...

Diet AND Exercise - it's a tie!

Come on now, you didn't actually think I was going to pick one over the other did you? That would be like asking a parent to choose their favorite child!

Both diet and exercise each have their pros and cons, but combined, they play a tremendously important role in maintaining a healthy weight, keeping steady energy levels, improving overall mood, improved sleeping, preventing illness, etc. The list could go on and on!

Keep in mind that there is no magic solution to getting fit, feeling great, and looking a certain way. It requires a life-long dedication to not only consuming healthy and nutrient-rich foods, but also moving your butt and challenging your body in various ways.

Don't think of the word 'diet' as a short-term fix to get your ass into a pair of jeans to impress someone who frankly could probably care less. Think of it as a long-term change to improve yourself and live a healthy lifestyle.

Don't think of 'exercise' as a monotonous tool - that you hate with everything that makes you who you are - that will allow you to eat whatever you want and will help you shed pounds. Exercise is not that thing you turn to once every year to try and make yourself look good in that bathing suit, again, to try and impress people who probably don't give a sh*t.

Healthy eating and an active lifestyle is the only way you can change your body and your mind for the better to help you feel better and age as pain-free and illness-free as you possibly can. The only person who can make that commitment is you!

Quote of the day:
"Success is something you attract by the person you become."
~ Jim Rohn





Day 62 - Diet vs. Exercise Part 7: Cancer Prevention


There are plenty of research studies hypothesizing that consuming a mostly plant-based diet has been shown to be a major deterrent for cancer, studies also show that regular exercise strengthens this fact even more.

There are other categories at play here, such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding cigarettes, limiting alcohol, etc. Truth of the matter is, Cancer can happen to anyone at any time, and is a scary disease!

Having said that, leading as healthy a life as possible has been shown to greatly reduce your risk of cancer substantially. I would like to quote Henry S. Lodge from the book Younger Next Year:

Some 70 percent of premature death and aging is lifestyle-related. Heart attacks, strokes, the common cancers, diabetes, most falls, fractures, and serious injuries, and many more illnesses are primarily caused by the way we live. If we had the will to do it, we could eliminate more than half of all disease in men and women over fifty. Not delay it, eliminate it.


Diet and exercise are both important here, I call this one a tie!

Winner: Tie

Quote of the day:
"Life's problems wouldn't be called "hurdles" if there wasn't a way to get over them."
-Author Unknown






Day 61 - Diet vs. Exercise Part 6: Injury Prevention



The United States has one of the highest dairy consumption rates per capita amongst many countries in the world yet their rates of osteoporosis are also rising.

Now common belief would tell you that, "You are what you eat" and if you wish to increase your bone density, then you should increase dietary calcium and vitamin D (also magnesium, etc.) in order to build bone tissue.

Turns out, your diet can only get you so far here. There is more evidence coming out today that is exploring the fact that you can take in tons of calcium and nutrients to make your body somewhat look good, but your body still survives by the "use it or lose it" mantra.

Exercise, and especially resistance training, puts a lot of stress and strain on not only your muscles, but your bones as well. Your body is a fighter in that regard because when it sees a challenge, it attacks it head-on by strengthening your bones, ligaments and muscles so that they can withstand these forces.

The more exercise and tensile strength we put our bodies under, the stronger they become and less prone to injuries caused by neglect!

Winner: Exercise

Quote of the day:
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
~ T. S. Eliot






Day 60 - Diet vs. Exercise Part 5: Improve Mood

 
Similar to the "Energy" category from before, there is nothing like exercise to boost your mood with that flood of hormones that are released from exercise.

Think of it this way, exercise is so good for you that your brain wants to thank your muscles for doing such a good job, so they release these hormones and make you feel great!

Also, more and more studies have shown that exercise is a great tool to curb the symptoms of depression.

Some people may feel that food is the way to improve their mood, as everyone has those "feel good" foods or drinks that they turn to in times of stress or depressed feelings. However, similar to alcohol, foods and beverages only cause temporary spikes of euphoria, often times causing 'crashes' later on. (Hangover anyone?)

Exercise is a much more sustainable way to improve your mood over the long term. Not only that, but you are doing something good for your body, improving your tissues, and burning calories, rather than cramming in unneeded calories that will just add inches to your waistline.

Winner: Exercise
 

Quote of the day:
"Energy and persistence conquer all things."
~ Benjamin Franklin






Day 59 - Diet vs. Exercise Part 4: Diabetes

 
This category will be a shock to many of you. You automatically assume that diet is the winner here correct? Well, not exactly.

Diet goes a long way here, as you should limit your consumption of certain foods (sugary garbage), but if you train your body to be a well-oiled machine, then dietary choices will not seem as drastic any more.

I don't want to blur the lines here, however. Diet plays a large part in weight gain and glucose insensitivity which can lead to conditions like diabetes, but exercise and keeping a healthy, fit body, can go a long way to preventing this disease. I am not advocating a diet rich in high-sugary, high-calorie foods, but a healthy, active body uses and distributes carbohydrates much more efficiently.

Carbohydrates must play a role in our diets. Our bodies need them for energy, and our brains need them to function. The problem most folks run into is that they consume FAR too many carbs than what their body needs on a daily basis. If, however, you get your butt up and off the couch and get active, the amount of carbs (healthy carb options) you ingest is less important.

Overweight individuals are at a higher risk for diabetes (refer to Part 1), but healthy active muscles gobble up glucose out of the blood for energy like it's their job! Routine exercise goes a long way to stabilizing your blood sugar levels so even if you do go for that dessert treat every so often, you are mostly covered.

If we were discussing this category from a flipped perspective, then I would say that diet is much more important in managing diabetes, but I feel that exercise is actually more important in the role of helping to prevent this condition.
 
Winner: Exercise 

Quote of the day:
"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal."
-Henry Ford






Day 58 - Diet vs. Exercise Part 3: Reduce Heart Disease Risk

 

Many people will say, "Exercise is good for your heart!" The more correct phrase would be, "Exercise is good for your cardiovascular system". You know, your internal plumbing. 

Things like high cholesterol, high sodium, high fat, high sugary diets can cause 'clogs' in your internal plumbing that can lead to a myriad of diseases such as (but not limited to) heart disease and stroke.

Truth is, your heart is a very powerful and efficient pump. Having said that, your heart muscle is like any other muscle in your body, it needs fuel to keep pumping. Poor lifestyle and diet choices can increase the risk of blockages in your 'plumbing' that can lead to your heart not receiving enough fuel, and therefore stop pumping!

Exercise essentially 'flushes' things out with such positive effects as lowering your blood pressure and resting heart rates. What exercise does is keeps your arteries and veins soft and pliable so that blood can pass through them with ease.

Having said that, consuming a healthy diet rich in healthy fatty acids like Omega-3's, whole grain carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables, can reduce your heart disease risk big time. I call this one a tie!
 
Winner: Tie

Quote of the day:
"Success is a journey, not a destination."
~Ben Sweetland






Day 55 - Diet vs. Exercise Part 2: Increase Energy Levels

 

Despite what some "energy drink" advertisers may try and tell you, there is nothing like exercise to get your blood flowing. Exercise (intensely) does a tremendous job at increasing circulation to all corners of your body. When you are at rest, blood can end up 'pooling' in areas of your body that are not being used as much.

As soon as you get your body moving, your heart rate up, and the blood pumping through your veins, you actually force the pooling blood out of the far nooks and crannies of your body which increases what is known as your 'venous return'. With a greater return of blood back to the heart, the more red blood cells are available to transport oxygen and wake you up.

Not only that, but an intense workout causes a massive flood of "feel-good" hormones throughout your body that not only lift your mood, but also give you a boost of energy. Sure, some foods can give you a quick boost of similar hormones, but they are generally short-lived and can even cause dips in the opposite direction. Sound familiar; "Eat because you're unhappy, unhappy because of what you ate?"

There are plenty of people who feel that their low energy levels can be fixed by certain foods, beverages, or pills. In actuality, however, consistent exercise will help alleviate dips in energy levels over longer periods of time and help maintain higher energy levels.

Having said that, a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich foods also goes a long way to giving you sustained energy levels, but exercise takes you to the next level!
 
Winner: Exercise

Quote of the day:
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson






Day 54 - Diet vs. Exercise Part 1: Weight Loss



Part 1 of a multi-part series discussing once and for all what is better for you - a healthy diet, or exercise. In this first part, I will discuss what is better for weight loss.

Plain and simple, it is MUCH easier to cut 500 calories out of your diet than it is to burn at the gym. To give you an example, many of you could go for a fairly intense run on a treadmill for 20-30 mins. and only burn a few hundred calories. However, by ordering from the lunch menu at the restaurant and skipping dessert could easily drop those unneeded calories.

A well-structured exercise program can do wonders to also help you lose weight, but by strictly focusing on the numbers, an individual can more efficiently cut calories faster and (arguably) easier than the time and effort needed to work calories off your body.

Diet and exercise are extremely effective of keeping weight off, but diet wins here for dropping weight to begin with.

Winner: Diet

Quote of the day:
"Those that can push themselves further once the effort gets difficult are the ones who will win!"
-Unknown