Does Working Out Matter If You’re Not Eating Right?

Here’s Why You’re Wasting Your Time Working Out

No matter how many calories you burn working out, it’s hard to burn off a bad diet. Exercise does burn off tons of calories — on average, an hour of vigorous yoga burns around 287 calories, biking burns 487 calories, and jogging burns 391 calories. And while that seems like a lot of calories, if you eat a crappy diet, just one slip up like a candy bar, scoop of ice cream, or hamburger and fries can send you in the wrong direction, negating your workout.

According to an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, you (literally) can’t run away from a bad diet. If your goal is to lose weight, your diet should be your number one focus. In fact, the article even says that a bad diet is worse than physical inactivity, alcohol, and smoking combined. That’s why even those with a normal body mass index (BMI) can suffer from metabolic abnormalities like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

What sort of a diet is the most effective for those trying to drop the pounds? Lean protein with tons of veggies is your best option. While sugar and other white carbs are the most detrimental to your overall health.

According to Dr. Michael W. Smith (also a personal trainer), “research has shown that cutting carbohydrates in your diet is the most effective thing you can do to reduce problems including high blood pressure and high cholesterol and manage diabetes, the editorial notes. Those benefits are seen even if you don’t lose weight.”

Exercise and working out are still critical to managing a healthy life. In fact, I wrote recently that those who exercised the most reduced their risk of premature death by 39 percent. They exercised for an average hour per day. Exercise is still critical to reducing problems with heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and some cancers.

Focus less on cutting calories and focus more on the quality of the foods that you’re eating. My best advice in terms of losing weight and keeping it off is to eat whole foods. Hit the farmers market every week and then plan meals according to all the fabulous veggies that you picked up. Eat high quality lean proteins like eggs, tofu, tempeh, beans, nuts, and if you’re not a vegetarian, fish, chicken, and beef. Cut out the sugar and when you do eat sugar choose a touch of honey, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup. But the key is to avoid processed foods with all their added sugar, saturated fats, and chemical additives.

This way, you won’t be wasting your time at the gym, rather, you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck. It’s not that you can never have foods like pasta, bread, ice cream, and baked goods, but they should be a treat rather than an everyday occurrence.

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Image of a women preparing a healthy meal from Shuttershock