Warning: I Love Lists.
From today, after reading this I want you to step away with the view of how diet and exercise isn’t a 60:40 or 50:50 (what a great CBBC programme that was!) relationship but they are two sides of the same coin, one without the other will not work, one is not more important than the other both need to active and 100% separate entities working conducively to lead you towards your goal. We are going to be taking a look at the relationship of each element and what they bring to the table for you to progress.
I am going to tell you this now. You can't out train a ‘bad diet’. Before we go any further let’s just get an idea of what we mean by a ‘bad diet’;
Doesn’t align with your goal.
No idea of calorie intake
No idea of protein/carbs/fats intake
Mostly junk food
Poor nutritional value for vitamins and minerals
Ignoring the importance of food for fuel and function and only focusing on its application for fun.
Impacts your social well being negatively
Impacts your mental well being negatively
Impacts your physical well being negatively
The main aspect to grasp form this is you are hindering your own results and health (well being) if you are not considering your nutrition. The more consideration, tracking and emphasis you put on your nutrition the better your results and health will be. So what does having a ‘good diet’ look like;
Aligns with your goal
Set to a specific calorie intake
Protein intake applied
Optimal carbs and fats intake for you and your goal
Mostly ‘whole foods’
Nutritionally dense foods
Optimal vitamin and mineral intake
Understanding the importance as food for fuel, function and fun.
Positively impacts your social well being
Positively impacts your mental well being
Positively impacts your physical well being
We have identified the difference between ‘bad’ and ‘good’ diet and i just want to emphasise on the implications on well being. When we talk about health we are referring to physical, mental and social well being and the elements that make up a person's well being in these areas are different for us all.
One man’s bodybuilding diet and its social and mental implications may suit that one man down to the ground leaving them content with their mental and social well being when they are sharing the experience with their bodybuilding friends over a tupperware lunch and thriving under the challenge of a strict nutrition plan, this may be perfect for them but is that perfect for everyone else? Probably not. That diet’s social and mental situations and implications may outweigh the positive physical effects therefore leading to an imbalance in their well being and therefore health. It’s about having a nutritional plan that cares for all areas of your well being. That glass of red on a saturday night with your friends at the pub might be just what you need mentally and socially, so long as it doesnt turn into bottles and ruin your physical well being.
The social and mental implications are a matter of mindset, do not use this as an excuse to slightly favour the balance towards social and mental well being to the detriment of physical health. Truly ask yourself ‘What do I want?’ ‘Am I content?’ ‘Am I happy?’. Do the lifestyle you lead align to what you want. To those who drink to much alcohol you can still have fun with less or even without it’s just a matter of mindset. To those who eat too much, you can still enjoy food and others company without overindulging. It’s just a matter of mindset.
So let’s identify the role that nutrition plays in your health and fitness exploits;
Fuel For Function
Fuel For Performance/Training
Fuel For Fun (social and mental well being)
Growth and Repair
Your energy balance will manage your weight, if your energy input is more than your output you will gain weight, if your input is less than your output you will lose weight, if they are equal you will maintain weight.
If your nutrition is pretty spot on, aligned with your goals and optimal for your all round health and well being but your training is sporadic, poor at best or non existent then guess what. You won’t be getting the results you truly desire. Let’s take a look at ‘bad training’;
Doesn’t align with your goals
Wrong mode/type for your goal
Not training at all
Infrequent and Sporadic
Poor or incorrect intensity
Not enough rest planned in
There are hundreds if not thousands of methods out there in the fitness industry for you to chose from that will get you the results you desire. There is also plenty out there that are poor, dishonest and fraudulent. The ones that work will all have one thing in common, they will follow these set of principles;
Specificity - The training aligns with your goals and is specific to you.
Progressive - The training doesn’t stand still it is continually looking to progress
Overload - The training will place your body under stress and stimulus to induce adaptations.
Reversibility - If you stop the adaptations obtained through training will diminish and reverse.
Rest - as you overload your muscle with stress and stimulus your body will need planned time to rest to allow the adaptations to occur.
Tedium - If your training is boring it is likely that you will subconsciously drop intensity and investment in the plan. This is both a question of the programme but potentially your mindset too.
Frequency - how often you train. Optimal frequency for the individual and the desired goal should be planned.
Intensity - The level of effort endured during a sessions is correct to you and your desired goal.
Time - How long each session is, how long each planned block is and how much time you have to reach your goal.
Type - What format and method will you follow.
As stated, any programme that has survived the test of time and any future programmes and plans that work optimally will follow all if not most of these principles.
What roles does your training and training programme play in reaching your health and fitness goals;
Your training has to create a stimulus that will induce an adaptation, a stress has to be placed on the certain aspect that you are looking to improve and adapt. Overload has to be placed on your muscle in order for the grow, get stronger or increase work capacity. Your cardiovascular system has to be placed under stress for it to adapt and improve.
Your body needs adequate rest in order for the desired adaptations stimulated during your training to occur. Too much stress and overload can cause the body to go into exhaustion rather than adaptation, impacting future sessions therefore reducing the effects of those sessions. It is about finding a balance of the level of stimulation with the right amount of rest to get the desired adaptation. Additionally to this if you don’t consider your nutrition then it is likely that your adaptation will be minimal if not nothing at all.
The intensity, time spent and type of training can impact how much energy your body will use. This can aid in creating a desired calorie deficit for weight loss. This can also be done through increasing how active you are in your daily life. Often when it comes to weight loss as much as the goal is for health optimization it is often for aesthetic reasoning too. Therefore we suggest making your training specific to muscular growth or retention and creating your calorie deficit through increased daily activity and reducing calorie intake. No one want to lose a load of weight but have a skinny body with no muscular shape.
Training either alone or with friends can be hugely beneficial to your social and mental well being. If the training is challenging and interesting it is more likely to be enjoyable and therefore easier to turn up to and do. If the training felt boring and uninspiring your levels of intensity and effort may subconsciously reduce. Training with friends and in social scenarios can play a huge role in all aspects of well being. Your training facility can become a social hub, a place for people to meet up with friends and make new ones. Some of the best relationships I have started in the gym. Ooohh gym friends. More fun can mean better effort and intensity and better results.
I hope that this will help you understand the relationship between your training and nutrition. You can see how they each do different things for you that compliment one another leading you towards your desired goals. One without the other just isn’t optimal because all the components needed for progress will not be utilised.
TRAINING fuelled by good NUTRITION creates a positive stimulation. The stimulation induces adaptation when the TRAINING includes rest and appropriate NUTRITION is applied.
Weight is managed through control of calorie input in your NUTRITION and through the output in your daily activities and TRAINING.
Physical health is optimized through getting the right amount of macro and micro nutrients in your NUTRITION plan and through the simulations and adaptations created in your TRAINING.
Mental health is optimized through a positive relationship with NUTRITION that feeds not on the to body but the desires of the individual and through the progress, challenge, hormone release and process (among many other benefits) of TRAINING.
Social health is optimized through enjoying the wonders of sharing the wins, losses and efforts of TRAINING in a social situation and through the enjoyment of optimal NUTRITION with friends and family. Don’t forget, sometime optimal could be a bottle of beer or sharing a pizza, just depends on the situation.