You can’t outrun an unhealthy diet

May 2, 2015

A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine says you can’t outrun an unhealthy diet. I couldn’t agree more. People are always looking for the easy fix or the miracle workout, but they don't work. It doesn’t matter how hard you work out, the bottom line is you are what you eat, and a bad diet will eventually catch up with you.

Aging happens

Aging is a fact of life, and whether we like it or not, it’s happening to all of us. A couple of primary effects are muscle loss and an increase of fat stores. That’s why we shrink, sag and lose strength as we get older. The average person will lose between 1 to 3 pounds of muscle each year after age 30, and this is dramatically accelerated if you constantly eat an unhealthy diet. Processed foods loaded with sodium and sugar have no nutritional value and rob you of bricks and mortar needed to preserve muscle. The good news is if you work out and eat correctly you can create the perfect storm to stall the aging process. As the owner of Rehoboth Bod Pod, I have personally witnessed more than 1,600 body fat tests and have seen people well into their 60s gaining muscle mass while losing body fat, and the secret is combining a good workout plan with a healthy diet.

Exercise is not enough

Exercise is obviously a key ingredient to getting in shape, but make no mistake about it, it’s not enough to ward off weight gain, muscle loss and all the unpleasant things that happen to us as we age. If we fail to change unhealthy eating habits, we can work out all we want, but the results will be minimal. If you consume large amounts of sugar and processed foods, you will simply be getting a good sweat in the gym without the results you worked so hard to achieve. So if you want the most out of your time in the gym, you must combine weight training, cardio and especially a healthy diet, or you will never reach your full potential.

Diet is the missing piece

Diet is always the most difficult part of any fitness plan, and for many it’s the missing ingredient that could take results to the next level. Lots of people are willing to put in four to six hours a week in the gym, but ask them to change what they put into their bodies and that’s an entirely different story. Nobody says you have to be perfect, but you have to feed your muscles with quality proteins that build, repair and preserve muscle, and eliminate bad choices 85 percent of the time. Foods altered in laboratories that sit on the shelves for months decaying can confuse your system, wreak havoc on hormones and are counterproductive to your goals.

Beware of “healthy” items

Today, determining what's healthy can be a daunting task, because food manufacturers spend fortunes advertising foods as healthy when they are really not. Foods like fruit juice, protein bars, some yogurts and nuts loaded with sodium can be just as detrimental as foods purchased at fast food restaurants. Chances are if it comes in a package and is not fresh, there is a better choice. Try to stick with natural foods like lean meats, fish, vegetables and whole grains. Don’t go for the gimmicky healthy choice fast foods found at grocery stores.

Just like Aesop’s Fable The Tortoise and the Hare, you can’t outrun a bad diet because, just like the tortoise, unhealthy habits will slowly catch up, leaving even the best of fitness plans in the dust. So if you think you're healthy because you spend several hours a week working out but are unwilling to change your eating habits, you might as well be banging your head against the wall.

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