I was asked question the other day. It caught me off guard. ‘Is Exercise or Diet the best for you?’ They asked.
This was a question I hadn’t asked myself for years. I’d realised my idea of exercise and food had evolved quite a lot. And the way I always answer is ‘it depends’. It frustrates people. Perhaps it’s society’s need for a quick fix, or quick answer (thanks for that google). But I can’t answer it in a soundbyte.
There’s a mantra I hear every day when I walk around the gym. I’d heard it when I had office jobs and i’d seen memes and motivational pictures with these wise words on. It’s that Diet is 80% of the results you get. Obviously we can infer that these people believe that exercise only counts for 20% of these gains. But i’ll cover that later.
I don’t really have a problem with motivational slogans or pictures, but they’re not the whole picture. In fact, they’re not even 1% of the picture. They don’t take into account any personal variation including where you are on your fitness journey.
But there’s something far more important to consider before you even start dieting or exercising. And it’s a process that not many people take the time to go through. But if you do, this process will be responsible for 100% of your results.
Ask yourself WHY.
Because this is the most powerful driving force in your life. It’s everything. And a lot of the time we don’t really know why we do the things we do.
You’ve obviously decided to change for a reason. So use that first. Tap into the emotion of the trigger.
I have clients whose triggers were things like:
These start as the trigger point. Use them.
I get my clients to write down 20 reasons why they want to go on this journey and change their bodies.
They write 5. And usually these are pretty normal for society. ‘To get fit’. ‘To feel good’. Etc.,
Then the magic happens.
They begin to really search inside themselves for their why. And then that’s when you get sustained motivation. Because every day we might have a different reason for continuing the journey and knowing exactly why you’re doing it and feeling the emotion behind that reason will keep you going.
It really doesn’t matter how selfish, vain or weird they are. If it works for you, it works for you.
One of my biggest reasons for losing weight was my big puffy nipples that I was embarrassed about since the age of 13. Combine that with the girl that rejected me because I was fat and I had mega motivation. My reasons are different now but when you begin this journey and sustain it, you grow as a person and that’s fine!
The next stage is where diet and exercise then become tools to achieve your goal. And in theory, using the ‘why’ from above will help for you to never feel those emotional triggers again.
THE NEXT PART
This is where the mantra above is a little bit off. Food is important in changing your body. But also, so is exercise. And this is where society’s attitude towards both should probably change.
Diet and exercise are tools.
If you want to change your body. Use these tools.
Use exercise to challenge your body.
Use weights to tear your muscles. Use cardio to challenge your heart and lungs.
Then use protein to replenish your muscles. Use fats to support your central nervous system and brain function. Use carbs to give you energy.
Then use sleep to recover. And repeat.
In the context of what is more important.
ALL OF IT.
I will cover exercise techniques, give examples of programs etc., But the Why is what I want you to focus on right now.