Friday, 26 February 2010

Burger - Treadmill - Exhaustion: can you outtrain a bad diet?

Can you out train a bad diet?

If you eat too many calories, too much junk food, or too many processed carbohydrates, it doesn't matter how tough or how long you exercise, you just won't lose that stubborn body fat. No exercise program is so great that it can out train a bad diet.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve over heard conversations or read on weight loss forums “I’ve got pizza for dinner tonight so I’m going to do an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill at the gym today” or “It was my friend’s birthday so I had a piece of her Chocolate birthday cake – but it’s ok because I haven’t eaten any lunch and I’ll work twice as hard at the gym tomorrow”

I’ve even seen people come fresh from their workout and in the gym cafĂ© order a frothy latte and a pastry “I’ve earned it – I’ve worked so hard in my aerobics class”

Unfortunately there is an assumption that because you train hard that you can eat what you like – it may be true that once you have got the body you desire through hard work and sensible nutrition, that you can indulge in the occasional treat and it wont do too much damage to your waistline, however if you are trying to lose fat and aiming to get into that bikini this summer then you still have to be very careful about what goes into your mouth!

Proper nutrition is paramount to you achieving your goals, filling up on healthy nutritious meals and snacks in the right quantities will get you that dream body, not fooling yourself that you have earned that “Starbucks Coffee and Muffin”

As a trainer I hear from clients again thinking that because they employ me to sort out their training that somehow my programs contain magic exercises that will eliminate the need for them to make any changes to their diet and nutrition program, sadly this is not the case, I may train someone for up to 2 or maybe 3 hours per week but that still leaves the other 168 or so hours in that week that they are responsible for themselves and what they put into their mouths!

Of course you will still get a change in body shape from a good training plan, and can even make a change to your body composition with the addition of some lean muscle, however if the nutrition isn’t in place then you wont be getting the transformation you are really seeking!

Why is it so hard to get the nutrition right? Many people would rather work themselves into a sweaty mess on the floor in the belief that they are out training their poor diet than put any thought and effort into what goes into their mouths, grabbing pre prepared foods on the go probably not even tasting what they’ve eaten.

It does take some thought, time and preparation to get your meal plans right but this comes down to just one word organisation! Spending just a little time over your weekend thinking about what you will eat in the forthcoming week, even cooking and freezing ahead, shopping and getting in what you will need, this will become second nature once you start planning and your body will thank you for it; and therefore be prepared to be optimally fuelled during and after your workouts, helping you recover and heal in the process and accelerate your fat loss results and increase your muscle gains.

If you choose to continue acting like a kid in a sweet shop stuffing down processed ready meals, takeaways and calorie laden snacks and hoping that that extra 20 minutes wasting your time on that treadmill will get you where you want to be then this time next year you will look at your reflection and be very disappointed, you will at best look the same or worst still you will have gained more pounds and be spending even more time on that treadmill or cross trainer trying to out do what you put in your mouth!

As a final example and taking things to the extreme for fun, imagine you have just spent an hour or so working out so intensely doing your HIIT (High intensity interval training) doing hill sprints followed by a gruelling spin class that has literally melted you off your seat – you may if your lucky have burnt up to 1000 calories however you may be left feeling that you couldn’t walk another step or even make sense when engaging in conversation on your way out of the gym – you did literally work your arse off!

Now you’re driving home and you are so tired you cant even imagine cooking - oh and there in all its glory is that big shiny yellow “M” sign – without thinking you are through that drive in within minutes and on your lap is a small box containing a burger, fries and coke – regular sized not large after all you are watching your diet aren’t you? Oops there is the big mistake in less than a few minutes you have just eaten up those 1000 calories and some! Now remind me – why did you just spend 60 minutes wasting your precious time to burn those 1000 calories? Just to eat them in less than the time it took you to put your trainers on?

On a final note it is possible to get your dream body, it just needs the right combination of a good training plan along side the right nutrition plan. Your results are approximately 80-90% diet related!


  1. CB What a brilliant article. If you don't mind I am going to link your Blog to my new website

    Would you like to be a guest contributor? If so drop me a line on

  2. Hi Will
    Thank you - and yes that would be cool!
    Lovely to hear from you x

  3. “I’ve got pizza for dinner tonight so I’m going to do an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill at the gym today”
    ChoccyB ...was that me you were lugging into at the gym :P