Which is more important for weight loss: diet or exercise? I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel the need to say it again: diet going to be the key to losing fat.
I believe one of the problems with shows like The Biggest Loser is the theatrical nature of the boot camp exercising they do. It makes things interesting, but the main reason the contestants lose weight is due to the radical change in diet. We usually don’t see what they are eating (unless they have one of those “temptation challenges”), presumably because it just isn’t as entertaining.
Here are a few examples to put things in perspective:
Brisk walking will burn approximately 300-400 calories (closer to 500 if you weigh 240 lb or more). Eat two glazed doughnuts and you’ve just cancelled out your walk (or eat just one cream-filled doughnut with about the same results).
Weight training at an intense level can burn around 500 calories per hour. But all you’d have to do is have one large blended ice drink at the local coffee shop to cancel out any calories burned (which is one reason I warn people about sweet drinks).
Here’s something else to keep in mind: you’ll burn most of your calories outside the gym. You’ll have to base your caloric intake on your overall caloric needs–the fuel your body uses in day-to-day activities (most people should get good results from eating 11-12 calories per pound of body weight/day, by the way).
To be clear, I do think exercise is important–very important. You should be doing some form of cardio and weights to burn some extra calories and build (or at least preserve) your muscle mass. But getting your diet in order is going to make or break your efforts to transform your body as far as fat loss goes.
Those who read my blog know I’m a big fan of the intermittent fasting approach to diet. But achieving a negative calorie balance is much more important than the specific strategy you use.