Eat Better, Exercise Less.


As a health professional, I must admit how surprising it is to see how many people exercise hours on end, day after day, and still fail to see their bodies ever change. I’m sure you know the person that fits this description. They arrive at the gym every day at 9AM, run for forty minutes and then jump on the elliptical machine for another twenty minutes. God forbid if they don’t get their full sixty minutes of cardio. If they’re really committed they’ll even add another half hour of weight training on a specific body part. Legs on Monday, arms on Tuesday, back muscles on Wednesday, shoulders on Thursday and whatever is left on Friday. Of course abdominal exercises must be done every day. Saturdays they take it easy. Maybe only a three mile run that day. They tell themselves they’re not addicted to exercise because they take Sundays off. Sundays are when they spend some time with the family. Playing sports with the kids, skiing at Ski Sundown, or doing work in the yard doesn’t count as exercise in their mind.

Despite these lengthy episodes of exercise it amazes me that most people don’t realize that if they spent more time on an ideal eating plan they could cut their workout time in half. Let’s be honest. Most people exercise to change their bodies. Obviously, there are the health benefits of exercise which are important to many of us but in my experience 95% or more of regular exercisers site they want some type of change to their body when they enroll in an exercise routine. Fitness goals can range from adding muscle, losing weight, or even just “tightening up” those problem areas. When you consider the limited time that many of us complain about having in our lives, less exercise time would seem quite desirable if your goals were simply to change your body.

When I initially ask people about their thoughts on nutrition they simply say they eat fine and don’t need to make any changes. They watch television and read health articles on nutrition so they feel they “already know what they need to do”. With 12+ years experience in sports nutrition and personal training I admit I don’t even know everything I’m supposed to do for my own personal workouts. I’ve signed up for 2 webinars in the next month alone to learn more about nutrition and exercise. Developing an optimal eating plan is not a simple task and there are guidelines to follow.

Many of the people I’ve been fortunate enough to work with over the years have consistently told me they never fully received the value of their gym memberships and home exercise equipment until they learned how to eat correctly to assure their results with their workout plan. When you consider most nutrition plans cost a fraction of a gym membership or a treadmill, it seems like the most valuable added “warranty” you could ever purchase.
When looking for a good nutrition plan, be sure to ask the following questions:

1. Have the general expectations of the program been presented to you and do you believe you can meet these expectations needed for you to succeed.
2. What is the success rate of the plan? If someone fails, why do they fail?
3. What is the experience of the Nutrition Coach or Registered Dietician(RD)?
4. Does the Nutrition Coach or RD follow the plan themselves?
5. Ask details about the science behind the plan. Are there any health risks to you?
6. Is the plan individualized to you?
7. Is this an eating plan you can continue with for the rest of your life?

I can tell you many of the latest trends on diets are not healthy and don’t believe everything you see on TV. Humble yourself. Take a step back and educate yourself on how to eat effectively to maximize your results with your exercise plan. Your workout routine will be much more gratifying. You’ll get the results you desire and have more time to spend doing other things in your life that are important to you.

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