Training or Nutrition – Which is More Important?

By on January 8, 2016
Nutrition and Training

What You’ll Takeaway –

  1. For someone new to working out progress will occur very quickly in the gym. Strength will increase and you may lose some fat.
  2. However, if you are not caring about or monitoring your diet, this progress could potentially be short lived.
  3. Focusing solely on diet alone you will cause weight loss but you will most likely lose muscle too, especially if your not consuming adequate protein.
  4. Weight training and diet are just as equally important to achieving weight loss.


Today I want to address a topic which is always brought up for a newbie, looking to improve health and lose weight – What is more important, training or nutrition for weight loss? We know that in order to lose weight you must create a calorie deficit. This is you burning more calories than you require. This can either be achieved by lowering your calorie intake, by increase calorie burned, or both. You regularly hear people demanding nutrition is most important or others saying its a 50/50 split, while some even claim you can not choose it is 100% for both.

This can be very confusing for someone who is new to the gym and uneducated in how to achieve their goals, so I will go through the pros and cons of focusing solely on training or nutrition.

 

Training

When I talk of training I am referring to lifting weights and creating enough of a stimulus to elicit a response. Mainly conducting compound movements, whole body multi joint exercises that recruit a large number of muscles. These are exercises such as the deadlift, bench press, squat and pull ups.

These type of exercises will give you the most bang for your buck when training. They will build muscle, increase strength, improve stability, increase bone/joint strength, etc…

Now for someone who has never trained before you will definitely make progress to start with, even if it is just training 2 times per week. You will probably lose some fat, built some muscle and get progressively stronger. This is because you have gone from never training to doing something.

However, if you are not caring about or monitoring your diet, this progress could potentially be short lived. You may unintentionally start eating more due to increased hunger from the building of muscle and increased metabolism. Or over estimating you calorie requirements and eat more thinking your body require more calories. This will only lead to fat gain and motivation could drop.

 

Nutrition

If someone was to solely concentrate on nutrition for weight loss, they may start to track their calorie intake. Make sure they are consuming adequate protein, approximately 1g per lb or bodyweight. Increase their fruit and vegetable intake, whilst cutting down on the junk food – Generally, healthy foods are something you just can’t go wrong with. This too will result in weight loss, but that’s the problem WEIGHT loss.

You will most likely lose muscle, and I do not know anyone that wants that. Muscle is what creates a good looking and shaped body, giving us that firm and athletic look that most of us want to achieve.

 

How about doing both?

Now this is when you will start to see your best results and achieve the body you really desire.

In my opinion both are just as equally important, but if the individuals preferences and lifestyle dictates that you can only focus on one or the other, then I would concentrate on nutrition. For someone who has never trained, followed a diet protocol, and is uneducated in fitness and nutrition, going from doing nothing to doing loads can be hard and most the time is not sustainable. So if you lifestyle only allows you to constantly achieve one of these aspects, choose nutrition.

It is a lot easier to create a calorie deficit from diet alone. For example, if we want to create a calorie deficit of 200 calories per day, you could cut out that afternoon snack or creamy caramel latte in the morning. On the other hand, a 200 calorie deficit through training alone could possibly take you up to 40 minutes in the gym.

In the long run it is a lot easier to be consistent with your diet day in day out if you find a diet that works for you and you can adhere to, compared to training every day to create that calorie deficit.

This will be optimal?

No, following both a diet and training program will be best to achieve your weight loss goals. Losing mainly fat and maintaining/building muscle.

But sometimes training or nutrition might have to take a step back because of our lifestyle, family, friends, or job and in this case I would put a case forward for training taking the back seat. Missing a week of training is not going to hinder your progress as much as messing up a weeks worth of eating. So you should always be looking to follow a dieting and weight training program to create ‘optimal’ fat loss, but if you can only follow one of these then choose nutrition.

 

The bottom line is we should always be looking for a training and nutritional approach that can fit into your lifestyle not dictate it.

 

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Scott Edmed

About Scott Edmed

I am currently serving the Royal Air Force as a pilot with a huge passion for nutrition and training, having competed in physique competitions and playing rugby and cricket for the RAF.