What’s more important dieting or training?

What’s more important dieting or training?

I see a lot of people casually using the gym, fumbling through the weights section before settling on some basic cardio in a bid to lose weight. They don’t really know what they are doing, and, of course, that’s not their fault. Without proper guidance it’s hard to know what to do.

What works and what doesn’t?

Unfortunately, just exercising without any thought to what you are eating may not end up with you achieving the results you desire.

So is nutrition that important? Can you lose weight with training alone? What’s more important?

Actually, it depends on what you are trying to achieve.

Putting it into context, if I have a client who requires 2000 calories per day to maintain weight and she eats 2500 calories per day and trains once every day, let’s say a spin class which burns 500 calories. Then she is still in energy balance and will not lose weight despite her training every day.

If this same client, however, cuts out the training altogether but goes on a diet of 1500 calories daily, creating a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day then she will lose weight with no training at all. Far easier than the training option isn’t it? And cheaper too!

That’s not to say that you can’t lose weight if you are eating too many calories though. I’m sure you’ve heard people say: ‘You can’t out train a poor diet’ Uh, yes you can. Just train harder or longer or increase your NEAT (Non exercise activity thermogenesis – the calories you burn throughout the day whilst not exercising). Walk more, do some manual labour, play with your kids etc. If those extra things you do uses enough calories and creates a deficit then you will lose weight.

On the other side of the chocolate coin.

What if the same client wants to put on lean body mass? Then not training and eating a high protein diet with sufficient calories may result in a slight increase in lean body mass but it won’t be noticeable to you or I.

The most important thing then becomes your training. With regards to increasing lean body mass a well designed resistance training programme will always perform better than nutritional modifications alone. Sure nutrition is important here too but if you’re not performing resistance training then you’re not going improve your LBM.

Bottom Line

If you want to lose weight then the most effective and easiest way is to sort out your nutrition. Get yourself on a calorie restricted diet that you can stick to long term. Ideally get an experienced coach to design it for you rather than go on a fad diet.

If you want to increase your LBM then get your training programming and your execution spot on. If you don’t know how to programme then, again, get an experienced coach to put together the perfect programme for you.

Visit Nathaniel’s Top Local Trainer page, for more information about his work including links to his Facebook page where you will find free advice and tips. You will also find contact details so you can ask him anything you’re unsure of with regards to training and nutrition.

Nathaniel Brown
Top Local Trainer Author
Team Member Picture