You can't out-train poor nutrition. Though many would argue otherwise, the simple truth is as the headline of this article says which is that poor eating will trump any kind of exercise program every time. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Some people think that if they train hard and often they can eat whatever they want and certainly they may have more latitude than those who don’t work out as hard or at all. But the fact of the matter is that even these “hard core” workout gym rats will never optimize their results if they don’t eat well.
As a species, virtually all of us overestimate how much we move and exercise and underestimate how much we eat.
In fact, there are several studies that have shown that the more overweight we are the less we think we eat.
We have essentially deluded ourselves into thinking we are more active than we really are and don’t eat as much or as poorly as we really do.
The sad fact is that 2/3 of our population is overweight or obese as defined by body mass index (BMI).
Even sadder is the news that this current youngest generation is the first in over 150 years with a lower life expectancy than their parents.
Let me say that again: The kids who are alive right now are not expected to live as long as their parents!
Those might be harsh statistics but we have to wake up and face reality here, folks.
We are more likely to be undone by our slothful ways and poor eating than any terrorist threat.
And while there is some truth to the saying that all calories being equal, at least from an energy perspective, the fact is that not all calories are equal.
We can’t in all seriousness believe that 2,500 calories of processed carbs and sugary sweets is the same, or has the same benefits, as 2,500 calories of fresh fruits/vegetables and lean protein sources.
These calories are not the same and over time your body and your medical history / health will bear this out.
The problem many people have with their nutrition is that in this day and age there is information overload. This leads to paralysis by analysis. Thus, people don’t know where to start let alone how to implement a sound nutrition plan.
I am a big believer in the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle and especially when it comes to nutrition and eating. The more fundamental and down to earth the advice is the better in my opinion.
Many of the popular diets books on the market read like scientific treatises and lead to as much confusion as clarity on the subject.
So to help you, here are two good books on nutrition to help you sort fact from fiction and be healthier.
- Michael Pollan’s,” Food Rules”. An awesome primer and as fundamental as it gets. It offers simple, common sense rules to guide you in your nutrition choices and it’s almost pocket size so you can take it with you.
- Jonny Bowden’s, PhD, “ 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth”. This is a very well done, beautifully produced book that boils down foods into their groups like fruits, vegetables, grains, protein sources, etc. and explains why he chose these particular foods. Some will be old favorites like blueberries and oatmeal while other foods are less common and may surprise you. He also has written an accompanying cookbook using these foods.
These two books will put you on the right path to better eating and will greatly simplify the process of eating well. We should not take food lightly (no pun intended 🙂 ) as it is not only sustenance but – as more and more research is indicating – has profound health effects all the way down to the molecular level.
Bruce Kelly MS CSCS is a personal trainer and the owner of Fitness Together in Media Pa.