Thursday, August 14, 2008

You can't out-train a bad diet

This is a saying that I know to be true. There have been times in my life when I've been training my guts out, yet not seeing results in terms of body composition. And when I've sat down and really taken a hard look at the nutrition side of things, guess what? My nutrition was always less than ideal.

Doesn't matter what your goals are - fat loss, muscle gain, maintenance, sports performance, whatever... you can't eat a whole bunch of crap, then hit the gym hard and expect great things. It won't happen. You know the old saying: rubbish in, rubbish out.

I just read an article by John Berardi that backs this up with some scientific data. I'd post it, but as far as I can tell, it's only available on the Precision Nutrition members-only forum, so better not.... don't want to land in trouble....

Anyway, in a University of Texas study, two groups of overweight and sedentary people were set up. One group followed a carefully supervised exercise program, the other didn't. No change was made to their dietary habits. Both groups were made up of people who were not previously exercising. And guess what happened? At the end of the 12-week study period, there was almost NO difference between the groups in terms of weight loss or body composition. Hmm..... What was the missing factor? A well-designed nutrition plan.....

I've been working at various fitness goals for 4 or 5 years now, and coaching clients in their fat-loss and training efforts for 3 years, and I can tell you that when people don't see results from a program, it's almost ALWAYS because their nutrition is off. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Either way, it will impact on results.

Too many "free" meals, overblown portions, too many processed foods, eating the wrong things at the wrong times, not enough veggies, not enough water, thinking that peanuts are a good protein source (I mean, seriously!) ....there are a million ways you can go wrong. And if you add several small oopsies together, they can add up to a big, fat NO PROGRESS.

If you're struggling with results, take a long, hard look at your nutrition. Go back to basics with food - count calories, watch your macronutrient ratios, stick to 90% unprocessed whole foods, cut out alcohol, drink your water, and see what happens. And watch those "free" meals. I bet you'll see a difference.

I posted this on a BFL forum earlier today, but thought it was worth sharing with a wider audience. :o)


I had to remind myself of all of this recently, when I realised that my brain had wandered off into dieter's la-la land - you know, the alternate universe where eating 5 chips off the kids' plates doesn't count. Where scoffing the last piece of garlic bread to save the little darlings arguing over it is your DUTY. Where licking the spoon (OK, the bowl *sigh*) after making choc-chip muffins for the kids - which you virtuously don't touch - is OK. Where you don't even remember buying that Caramello Koala when you stopped to get petrol. And so on.

A serious review of my week revealed exactly why the scales were playing silly buggers. There's always a reason....

This week, nutrition is so compliant it's positively startling. The scales still aren't playing all that nice, but I refuse to be thrown by that. I'm blaming DOMS from my leg workout yesterday ...I dutifully followed coach's instructions to Go hard or go home! so naturally - OUCH!

I was thoroughly pissed off this morning when I discovered that the scales had drifted slightly upward since yesterday. It was one of those WTF? moments. And as I drove to the gym, I could feel myself working up into a really bad mood. There were a lot of thoughts along the lines of "this sucks. I've done everything right. No cheats, no amnesia with food. Training has been awesome. Not fair!"

Luckily I caught myself starting the old "not fair" routine, took a deep breath and asked myself: Self - what are you going to do about this? The answer (of course) was that I should worry about the things I can control, and let go of the ones I can't.

I can't control the scales directly. I can control my training and nutrition, so those are the things I'm focusing on. And if I do that, day after day, then the results will follow. I just need two things: faith and patience. And a kick-arse attitude. OK, that's three things. I never said maths was my strong point.

I must have done a good job of turning the crappy attitude around, because after my gym workout, I stopped at Coles, breezed right past the chocolate displays and walked out with only cottage cheese, oat bran, some almond meal, a jar of unsweetened apple sauce and a box of tissues. The cafes and bakeries were in full 10:00am morning tea mode and the smells drifting out must have been awesome - but I didn't even notice.

I still have posing practice and cardio to get through this afternoon. That's only a couple of bites of my daily training and nutrition elephant. Easy.


Charlotte Orr said...

Glad to hear you are back on track. Try not to let the scales dictate your mood too much. I weigh every day but choose 1 day of the week (usually a Saturday) to compare my progress from week to week. Otherwise it would do my head in.

Unknown said...

I get the feeling that I won't be able to resist the 10am cafe and bakery calls when I'm in Melbourne!

Would you still like to meet up? It would be great to see you.

It's quite a realisation looking at yourself and discovering that what is stalling you is staring you in the face; it is awesome to see how you take responsibility and get on with the job in true Kekster style :-D

Sara said...

49 days to go!


(of course, I get the easy part...)


Unknown said...

Thank you Kerryn!

Just what I needed to hear! I was wondering how much my calories should have changed since I stopped breastfeeding Molly. I have all the info you have me when I did the 12 week thing with you but I don't think I have that little tid-bit!

I am really struggling to stay on a decent nutrition plan. Too many treats, too many "forgotten" calories! As we have said before- just about any 'diet' works with dedication. That is what I have been lacking.

Thanks again!

Post a comment

Join the conversation...leave a comment.