Do you ever find yourself wishing for a written manual on exactly how much you need to exercise and eat to get the results you want? A step-by-step checklist of things to do for no-fail results? Heck, you figured out how to use your high-tech dishwasher by looking online. You put Lego creations together with the glossy step-by-step instructional booklet when you were a kid. You even put that bed together thanks to the in-box pamphlet, and that was barely written in English. So, yes, a straight-forward, black and white set of simple instructions for some of the more confusing aspects of achieving and maintaining the health and body you want would be great – we agree! And if we’re talking confusing aspects, some of the questions we get the most are surrounding the exercise/diet balance. So until they come out with the handy pamphlets, allow us to shed some light on this classic quandary.
So what gives? If you’re sweatin’ it out with your trainer a few times per week, do you really need to seriously restrict your diet in order to lose weight?
Why, yes, of course.
Keep in mind that weight loss is 75% diet and 25% exercise. To put this notion in context, think about what is easier to do: make the choice to eat fewer calories at each meal, saving a daylong total of 450 calories, or hitting the elliptical machine for a full hour, each and every day, to burn the same amount? Stock up 7 days’ worth of these calorie savings for a total of 3,500 calories, and you’ve lost yourself about a pound. In this scenario, if you’re like most people, you’d probably find that it’s more feasible to simply adjust your diet.
Just be careful to not let your daily calorie intake dip too low. Doing so will actually cause your metabolism to take a nosedive. To safely support weight loss efforts, as long as your doctor agrees, aim to eat around 10-12 calories per pound of body weight per day. So a 130-pound person should eat around 1,300-1,500 calories per day for weight loss. And if you’re upping your calorie burn with exercise, your daily calorie intake can raise a little, too.
Nah, not necessarily, but . . .
Something else to keep in mind is the fact that when you tax and build your muscles by working hard with your trainer, your metabolism will be raised for many hours after your session ends. Impressive calorie-burn while you’re here, continued torching well into dinnertime: double bonus. Also, by building muscle, as you do when you work with weights, you actually slightly raise your metabolism on a semi-permanent basis. This doesn’t mean you can go overboard on a pre- or post-workout gorge, it just means that working out can make your overall efforts to have a healthy weight and body a lot easier. Combining a healthy, moderate diet with the extra oomph of exercise is your best bet to getting the results you want.
Your Fitness Together trainer is a total-package wealth of knowledge about the best exercises for you to do, AND nutritional advice for how to help you achieve your goals. And while we’re still waiting for a step-by-step manual for no-fail health results, your trainer is a pretty close second-best.