Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Work out, or eat?

I often hear: "I need to lose 60 pounds first. Then I can begin working out."

Really?? Why??

Is there some kind of reason you can't work out and eat right at the same time?

I don't know when this idea took hold, but it seems to be the case that some people feel as if they must lose body fat first before actually going in to shed pounds. Now in my years as a trainer and fitness instructor, I may have possibly heard everything in the book, from not wanting to get bulky, to feeling they are too big to burn calories. Now if that same person told me they had a lot of joint pain, I'd completely understand that angle. But being able to do some light exercise at least, walking for example, is always an important first step in the changing of the metabolic pathways that can lead to an even heavier or lighter state. The decision to stay stagnant, or get moving, is up to the discretion of the exerciser.

When I think of this topic, I am also contemplating those who either eat really well and hardly move, or work out severely, and eat very poorly. This is a common pattern amongst many trainers, who have a tendency to overtrain their bodies. Many people do not even realize (or care) that they are overtraining, and have been, for an extended period of time. When injury or deep fatigue sets in (or a combination of both), they begin to realize their folly. A few common symptoms of overtraining are deep muscle fatigue, inability to perform a set of exercises one is normally capable of completing, soreness after every workout, soreness, stiffness or pain in a localized area of the body, deep, insistent hunger that becomes hard to kill, which leads to overeating and weight gain. On top of this, that same person will go smoke a cigarette, order a pizza and drink 5 beers with friends that evening, as a "reward" to offset their efforts, because after all, that's why they train (so they can eat whatever they'd like). Does this make that food or substance any less bad for your internal organs? (yes, I'm also talking to my hard gainers as well. You CAN eat clean and gain.)

Inflammation is the cause of pain, and silent inflammation is the long term, non-painful cause of illness such as obesity and diabetes, which can eventually become painful and lead to death. Even the most avid exercising trainer should know that this extended state where the body is forced to ingest damaging foods, will eventually manifest illness. It's the eventual status, that puts refined and processed foods on alert, or at least should, with physically knowledgeable people.

So what do we say about people who eat healthy but don't exercise? Well here's the truth. If you want to alter the look of the body, eating healthy won't build muscle, and if you want healthy physiology, lifting weights won't necessarily produce a clean liver and gut, but may offer you a better chance of moving that damaging food through the gut and out of the body. So then, what would the body think if that damaging food wasn't put in there in the first place? Now that could work. 

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