Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nutrition and Exercise Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

Nutrition and exercise are like peanut butter and jelly, you just can’t have one without the other (well, at least if you expect to see lasting results). Most people wouldn't just make a peanut butter sandwich without jelly or vice versa. While a peanut butter sandwich alone is still good (I’d have some doubts about a jelly sandwich), it isn't as good as it could be if you added jelly. Most people have their peanut butter sandwich with jelly, because we all know that together it is a dynamite and much more satisfying combination. The saltiness of the peanut butter just meshes so well with the sweetness of the jelly. Well, the same is true for exercise and nutrition. Sure, they're both good alone, but together they're a dynamite and much more effective combination. They mesh just as much (if not more) as peanut butter and jelly!

When it comes to exercise and nutrition, we all love to cut corners. Often, our mentality is to do whatever achieves the quickest and easiest results. Because changing the way you eat and incorporating exercise is a huge lifestyle change, many people will do one or the other, but not both. Ironically, doing one or the other is the LONG way to achieving results and is much HARDER! Some people continue their regular diets, but exercise and wonder why they don’t lose weight, and on top of that why they actually are finding themselves eating more. Others change the way they eat, but don’t incorporate exercise and wonder why they aren’t getting toned as they begin to shed fat. The obvious solution to these conundrums is that if you want the total package (i.e. lose weight, gain muscle and tone, have a faster metabolism, etc.) you have to do both. This is especially true if you want lasting results. Like I said, by only doing one or the other, you’re making the process that much longer and harder on yourself.

3,500 calories consumed equals one pound of fat. If you want to lose a pound a week (if weight loss is your goal), you need to cut 3,500 calories from your current diet. Now, you can go about this several ways. You can cut out 500 calories worth of food every day, burn 500 calories every day exercising, or do a combination of both. I love food way too much to cut out 500 calories a day from my diet, and I can't imagine spending seven days a week in the gym working out vigorously (because burning 500 calories through exercise calls for high intensity workouts), so in my opinion, I take the easy route and do both. Now, my goal isn’t to lose weight, only to maintain my current weight, but doing a combination of both allows me to easily stay where I’m at, eat healthy while still enjoying my favorite foods, and be active. Of course, eating healthy and being active have a host of other benefits beyond keeping me at my current weight. Eating healthy foods means I am getting more nutrients my body needs (and less artery clogging fats for that matter) and exercising means I am keeping my muscles, bones, and heart strong, as well as building my endurance; these are amazing benefits that will serve you well for your lifetime. And, one of the best benefits of exercising consistently is that once you reach your goal weight, exercise will help keep you there.

So remember, incorporate both exercise and nutrition into your lifestyle for lasting results. Doing both is much easier than placing the entire burden on one side of the equation. You’ll actually be able to stick with this course of action since it requires smaller tweaks to your diet and exercise routine. Trust me, you will feel and look better if you do both, and your body will thank you!

For more information on exercise’s affect on weight loss, read this recent, interesting article from the New York Times,

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