I was on Facebook a few weeks ago when I saw a “Facebook friend” (need to make that clarification for those that understand the differences vs. real life) say something to the tune of “Worked hard at the gym for my birthday cake!” I didn’t want to be “that guy,” nor did I have the heart to tell that person that it doesn’t quite work like that.
It’s OK, I’ve done it too. In fact, I’ve probably done most of the mistakes I write about on this blog. So, let’s think about this problem in a more scientific way: does a 45 minute workout justify eating another 1,000 calories? Absolutely not, and it’s a losing proposition.
I won’t start off by saying how the calories your treadmill says you “burned” is not accurate, and how post-workout recovery drinks aren’t appropriate for many people who don’t really work hard at the gym (yes, I'm being ironic by leading off with those topics). But, perhaps nothing gets the point across quite like this video:
Shocked? People don’t tend to think about intake and expenditure - because that’s what it really is - in such abstract terms.
This study, performed by Dr. John Berardi, showed that if you’re exercising without any dietary changes, you’re hardly realizing your potential. He found that those that exercised without any dietary changes lost a measly 1% of bodyfat over the course of twelve weeks.
Further, this study at the University of Oklahoma also looked at exercise with and without dietary changes. Again, those that exercised without dietary intervention saw minimal changes, while those that exercised AND ate correctly lost over 9% body fat.
Now, this doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself every now and then, because that's what life is about! It's what you do everyday that makes you what you are, and the old adage is true – you really can’t out train a bad diet.