Maximize Nutrition, Minimize Calories
6-packs are always made in the kitchen, not the gym.
As a gym owner, personal trainer, and massage therapist for the past 21+ years, the #1 question I always get asked is, “What is the best exercise to flatten my stomach?” I am very amused by this question, as it hearkens back to my early days in the gym. When I first hired my own personal trainer at age 27 to help me lose weight and get in shape, my trainer would always tell me that there is no such thing as training or exercising your way out of a bad diet. The body I wanted was mostly made in the kitchen, with the other 23 hours of the day that I wasn’t in the gym being the most important. Proper nutrition comprises approximately 80% of a good weight loss program. Exercise is essential, of course, especially resistance training, because as we lose weight, we also lose muscle, which can sink your metabolism following weight loss, causing you to gain that weight back much easier.
This is one of the many reasons that so many diets fail. To be successful, it is a matter of finding the right balance of exercise and diet combined. I call this a 3-prong approach, much like the look of an electrical outlet. The top two tiers of the outlet are the resistance training and the cardio, i.e., the exercise, and they rest on the bottom prong, which is the nutrition. Practicing proper nutrition is the #1 way to lose and maintain sustainable weight loss.
So what’s the best diet? There is no single answer for that, as individual chemistry and genetics play a role in how our bodies process food. Food can either be medicine or poison, and knowing which one is which for your individual body is key. For me, I found that both food sensitivity and dietary DNA testing were critical in learning which foods agree and don’t agree with me. Eliminating foods that create inflammation specific to my body helped me feel better almost immediately, from better digestion and feeling better to improved skin and sleep.
However, the journey doesn’t stop at identifying the right foods. It’s also about understanding portion control and the balance of macro-nutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Every body is unique and may require different proportions of these macro-nutrients. It’s crucial to listen to your body and adjust your diet accordingly. Moreover, hydration plays a pivotal role. Often, we mistake thirst for hunger, leading to overeating. Drinking adequate water throughout the day aids digestion, improves energy levels, and helps in weight management.
Additionally, it’s important to note that a ‘diet’ is not a short-term fix but a long-term lifestyle change. Quick fixes like crash diets may offer immediate results, but they are not sustainable and can be detrimental to your health. Instead, focus on making incremental changes to your eating habits that you can maintain in the long run. This approach not only ensures effective weight loss but also promotes overall well-being.
Therefore, while exercise is integral to fitness, nutrition is the cornerstone of any effective weight loss program. It’s about making informed food choices, understanding your body’s unique needs, and creating a balanced and sustainable eating plan. Remember, the journey to a healthier you starts in your kitchen.