I see the opposite of this statement, “Abs are made in the kitchen”, on memes depicting rippled 6-packs floating around Facebook. I hear it from personal trainers trying to emphasize the importance of diet to their clients who aren’t getting results despite three sessions per week with their trainer plus three on their own. I applaud the efforts to emphasize the importance of nutrition.
“Fat loss is 20% exercise, 80% diet” is another way of saying it. The point is that exercise will get some results but without changes in diet the results will not continue. You can’t reach your optimal level of health or fitness through exercise alone. I agree wholeheartedly. Only a few select people with amazing genes can get trim, fit, and toned through exercise alone.
On the other end of the spectrum, having a “perfect” diet or cutting back calories but not doing regular exercise will result in weight loss or maintenance but no one with a toned midsection achieves that through diet alone. Platefuls of grilled chicken, quinoa, and steamed broccoli aren’t going to magically transform a tummy into a rock-hard sleek midsection you can bounce apples off of.
Even as a dietitian, I can’t stand behind these misleading slogans. Fat loss, health, optimal fitness, whatever your goal is cannot be dissected into parts: Exercise and diet play equal roles and must BOTH be focused on for long-term sustainable results and optimal health. A good example of this is bone health. Even if someone has a picture perfect diet and gets adequate nutrients required for bone health including calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K, without weight-baring exercise these nutrients can’t do their job. (This is oversimplifying bone health to make a point!)
Exercise does not outweigh good nutrition (no pun intended) and vice versa so let’s top slapping percentages on which one is more important or yields better results despite contradictory research studies supporting one stance over the other.
Doing one without the other is like driving a car with gas but no oil. You’re only going to get so far before the limiting factor prevents you from moving forward. The same goes for nutrition and exercise.
Bottom line: Toned abs are made in the kitchen AND the gym. For the best results, nutrition and exercise are equally essential.
Tired of dieting and not getting results? Sign up now for your free copy of Your Last Diet e-book at http://plateshaper.com. Erin Kuh, registered dietitian, nutrition coach, and owner of The Plate Shaper, and is dedicated to helping you redesign the way you eat for permanent results.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net