Fitness is a pincer attack! Many people try to exercise their way to health and ignore their diets or diet their way to health and ignore exercise. Like a full on frontal assault you can achieve your goals with one approach or the other, but it will take a longer time and the result will fall short.
Fitness is a Pincer Attack — The Exercise Flank
Exercise is an important component of anyone’s health plan. Start out slow and easy and keep increasing the challenge. Also, mix it up, don’t focus on any one part of your body or skill, do not forget flexibility and balance. Too often, exercise equates to cardiovascular health and muscular strength (and for guys usually upper body) and we leave out the other two entirely. However, good functional strength requires all of those four components and that is what I like about the concept of Cross Fit (but not its overzealous tendency to push way too hard and fast).
Fitness is a Pincer Attack — The Dietary Flank
Experts often say you can not out exercise a poor diet. My mileage varies on that claim, but it is true for most people. It is amazing how many calories are in the foods we eat and it is amazing to discover how hard we have to exert ourselves to burn off the excess calories. Our bodies want to conserve energy not burn it needlessly.
Unless you are able to spend two-three hours per day exercising you need to watch and control your diet. The primary goal is to keep your calories in less than or equal to the calories you burn. Brace yourselves, you are not going to like this as it is going to force some choices onto you. Yes, I know you like that big burrito from QDoba (I do) but eat it and that will cost you nearly half or more of your daily calorie budget! Yeah, that second round at the buffet will help increase the value proposition, but it will add to your weight. That bag of post-lunch Doritos is good too, but it will cost you that desert you are going to make this evening. All are choices any dieter faces on a regular basis and the successful dieter makes those choices consciously and on data. Even if you are burning off crazy amounts of crazy calories why not help your body obtain the best health it can get?
Mind you, I am not saying to NEVER eat junk food or treats, I am saying to treat them as luxuries.
Fitness is a Pincer Attack
Exercise and diet are both necessary to achieving good physical fitness but neither is sufficient. I am sure we all know people who work one component only and are not in the greatest shape, whether it be skinny person or the person who works out constantly and can not lose weight.
What is your approach to total fitness?