If you ask yourself which is more important between exercise and diet for weight loss – what would you side with? Are you sure about that? With both sides being taken, I’m determined to find the answer over this hotly debated topic!

We are familiar with seeing the formula 80% diet, 20% exercise plastered across fitness & health Instagram accounts, and magazines – but what does this formula really mean, and does it work? Let’s start with exercise; although it’s possible to lose weight just by dieting alone, hold off on trading in your 1 hour CrossFit class for an hour of meal prep just yet! As a qualified Physical Training Instructor & Health Trainer, exercise is a very important component and shouldn’t be overlooked. My reasons centre on the fact that without physical activivity only a proportion of your weight loss will be from fat, and the worse part is you’ll also be taking muscle and bone density with you!

It’s important to note that those workouts promote growth of metabolic tissues, therefore losing weight through diet and exercise means you’ll be burning mostly fat – who can complain with that! If the scales don’t seem to shift don’t do yourself down, remember that muscle takes up less space than fat, meaning your hard earned weigh loss will show through looser fitting clothes.

In order to keep the weight off you don’t need to slog yourself silly in the gym. I recommend building up to 5 – 7 50 minute workouts a week ranging from moderate to high intensity exercise such as spinning, running, CrossFit, and resistance training. To get leaner faster incorporate body weight exercises such as push-ups, squats, and lunges. Additional health benefits also include improving your sleep quality, reducing stress levels, and lowering cholesterol – these certainly make that 10km all the more worthwhile!

Diet

I’ve always told those I train you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. You’ll of course lose weight in a much shorter time frame if you eat the right foods, in the right quantities, and exercise regularly compared to dieting without working out. The key to weight loss is to take in less calories than you burn, or achieve a negative energy balance. To lose a measly 1 pound remember you need to achieve a 3,500 calorie deficit! So in relation to the ratio that means burning 750 calories through exercise, and cut an extra 3,000 calories through dieting – that’s a total deficit of 3,750 calories for the week.

I advise sticking to a low-carb diet, which is also the most popular because it offers the fastest results, but the disadvantages include it can be difficult to sustain, espicially if you easily give in to temptation or have hectic schedules. In order to prevent feeling sluggish, and fatigued I recommend sticking to a balanced diet consisting of whole grain carbs in the morning such as porridge with a scoop of Whey Protein, non-fat dairy keeping you feeling full, and lean proteins such as chicken and turkey with vegetables for lunch and dinner.

Written by Physical Training Instructor and Health Trainer @PTI_Thompson

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