Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t outwork a bad diet?”
If you’re like me, your mind immediately jumps to all the ‘bad’ things we’ve recently eaten. Perhaps it’s the sugar loaded cereals, coffee creamers, and margarita nights. Or maybe the fat laden burgers, nachos, or pizza. Whatever your jam is, one thing is for certain: these are the OBVIOUS issues.
What we forget are all the additions and add-ons that pack an unhealthy wallop. Things like cheeses, dressings, sauces, and anything with an expiration date in a year or more are all guilty saboteurs. These are often the meal elevators, but the cost comes in the form of sugar, salt, and saturated fats.
For the mildly health conscious, this would be the moment where we make the unrealistic commitments which we never adhere to. We swear off alcohol, fast food, late night binges, and consider becoming vegetarian (you know you have). Typically, after a week of this strict, fun-sucked life we regress back to the mean of 40 beers or so and a moonlight drive to the golden arches.
As for the more disciplined, we make small changes that compound over time to reach our stricter diet through a more obtainable means. We don’t swear it all off, for we do require our sanity. We do indulge on occasion, but always live in moderation. Although some may say this qualifies us for sainthood, it does not necessarily mean we’ll reach our ideal aesthetic.
You may have noticed in the above two instances I used the word ‘we.’ This is not my way as a writer to provide you with solidarity as a reader; in fact, I have been at all sides of the spectrum. Can you remember the ‘fat kid’ in grade school? That was me. Since then, I’ve been on a constant quest to obtain my ideal physique (probably to my detriment at times). What I’ve found is that this whole goal-seeking alone is not suitable for results.
Learning > Achieving
When you hear that results are 70% diet and 30% training, what you’re really hearing is you have to cut out the bad shit and get off your ass. Truth is, that mindset only gets you so far. If you really want to see results, you have to learn to love the process. I don’t mean some idealized cliche, but hold yourself accountable and lay a solid framework for tracking your progress. The more data you capture, the more easily you can identify the cause (good or bad). Treat each period in between measurements as an experiment and a chance to learn about your body.
Understanding that it’s more than just removing all the obvious poor decisions, but fueling properly with the right ones. Below is a macronutrient chart (notice I said chart, not gospel). This not only removes the guise that carbs are the enemy, but provides a great starting point dependent on your goal.
If you use a food diary to log your meals and quality metrics to hold yourself accountable (I use MyFitnessPal and Tanita respectively), you’ll begin to unveil the truths of how your body responds to different ratios. Couple this knowledge with your training, and you’ll soon realize how exciting it can be to view your fitness as a series of experiments.