People tend to ask questions constantly trying to find the golden mean of reduction. What is more important and works better, diet or physical activity? What nutrition strategy and what kind of exercises are best for reduction? What actions will make us become successful?
To be honest, there is no certain method good for everybody. Physical activity is constantly important. However, even if you ask the best trainers who emphasise the importance of sports, you would find out that in the matter of burning fat, the most important is diet, not training. If you ask the best dietitian if there are foodstuffs of which excluding or including in diet ensures success, you would find out that there are no such products. The secret of burning body fat is not in the magic set of exercises, nor in magic foodstuffs. The secret of burning fat is in creating the calorific deficit and sustaining it until achieving the set goal.
You can create the calorific deficit with diet – by decreasing the amount of consumed calories, or with additional physical activity – by increasing the energy expenditure. Obviously, you shouldn't lead to a situation of very deep calorific deficit. It may have negative influence on functioning of the hormonal system, it may also decrease the chance of sustaining the achieved results. What's more, using too low calorific diets causes that you are not able to train enough in order to create the stimulus for the body. As a result, you eat a little, you don't have power, the workouts are not done in 100% of your abilities, and the results are poor. In the best scenario, you are spinning in circles without making any progress.
If the negative calorific balance, which can be achieved with diet or training, is so important, can the reduction be done only with additional physical activity?
It is possible. However, in reality, people compensate physical activity with increased portions of food. “I had a really good workout today, I can eat pizza, I deserve it.” Does it sound familiar?
You can easily ruin the results of even the most intensive workout if you don't pay attention to what and how much you eat, if you don't pay attention to the difference of the amount of the supplied and expended calories.
Workouts should not be the pass to unlimited consumption.
Do I have to think about workouts if nutrition is supposed to be the factor determining the body fat reduction?
Using only diet without any additional activity would be definitely convenient. It would make us save time and money (gym membership card), we wouldn't have to sweat and bother.
Losing weight without exercising is possible. Such option is good if your only goal is to fit in too tight trousers or dress. Limiting the consumption of calories should be enough in such case. However, if you want to achieve better fitness, slim body with muscles, which would look well not only with the clothes on, but also off, if you want to be stronger and healthier, you have to work during training. Some people often think that if they lose weight, lose a few kilograms, fit in smaller trousers, they will look perfect. Unfortunately, under the fatty tissue, the body is not usually that perfect. Especially if you spent most of your life on a couch, in front of a computer, behind the steering wheel or at the parties.
I also have to mention, that if you connect both of the methods – diet and training, you will achieve the results earlier. The calorific deficit, supported with physical activity, will cause that you won't have to starve.
It's also good to write, that any kind of physical activity influences the process of creating the calorific deficit. It's not only that in a form of training. Shopping, cleaning, walk, exhausting work also increase the amount of the burned calories, therefore, they increase the calorific deficit.
Any kinds of the unplanned activity create NEAT, i.e. the non-exercise activity thermogenesis. The more you walk and move around during the day, the more additional calories you burn.
The prescription for the body fat reduction seems trivial. You have heard for many years that you should eat less and move more. Despite that, many people cope with overweight.
Where do such problems come from? It's not difficult to set the calorific deficit, but it's hard to do it wisely and be able to sustain it for longer than few days. People love to go to extremes. Once they're on a strict diet, another time they allow themselves eat everything. People tend to create an unhealthy attitude towards food, it is either a punishment or a reward. Such actions do not foster permanent results. We also tend to forget that the intensive workouts are not able to balance the irresponsible diet. As a result, you praise each additional activity with another meal.
The key to success is not the strange nutrition strategy, which guarantees success without effort or work, but permanent reasonable changes in eating habits. They require time, but their results stay forever.