Which Is More Important For Your Health: Diet Or Exercise?

diet or exercise more important

Exercise vs Nutrition: Is one more important?

You’ve probably heard it a million times…I’ve probably said it a million times: weight loss is 75% nutrition and only 25% exercise. So we can obviously say screw exercise and focus solely on our nutrition, right? I mean the numbers don’t lie, why waste the time?

Exercise vs nutrition, are they the same? The simple answer is Hell No! They are both VITAL to your health! It’s like making sure your sweet ride is all oiled up and ready to go but negating to put gas in it…yeah, pretty dumb! When it comes to exercise vs nutrition, they both have their benefits as well and we will discuss those below!

Nutrition is Vital

Listen, and make no mistake about it, when it comes to losing weight, you must take control of your food (don’t let it control you)! It’s a simple fact; it is way easier to control what you put in your mouth than it is to bust your butt on a treadmill for 120 minutes.

Okay, here’s an example:  what’s easier?

To NOT eat that gut busting triple quarter pounder with  quadruple cheese (~800 calories) or climb on the stair-stepper for over 120 minutes?

It’s simple: it’s always easier to not shove that burger in your mouth than it is to eat it and then kill yourself trying to work it off to create a calorie deficit (if that’s what you are going for). It just doesn’t make sense. Here are a few examples (of course this is bodyweight dependent; a 140-pound woman in this case):

  • One slice of cheese pizza (280+ calories): 50 min. of brisk walking (4mph)
  • Basket of mozzarella sticks (750+ calories): 84 min. of playing tennis
  • One 12 ounce soda (135+ calories): 20 min. of hiking
  • One 12 ounces light beer (100+ calories): 30 min. of bowling (go hand in hand)
  • One bagel with cream cheese (380+ calories): 135 min. of yoga…

This all breaks down to how much you want to exercise to burn off those calorically dense foods you are munching on. If your goal is to create a calorie deficit (which equates to eventually weight loss), you need to realize that eating healthy foods and not calorically dense foods is the easy way to go!

Because of this, nutrition is a more important factor when it comes to weight loss…it’s so much easier not to eat that junk and wash it down with a soda than it is to try to exercise for 2 hours.

Try this: eat less calorically dense foods that are more filling. For instance, 3 cups of broccoli only equate to 156 calories! That’s over 550 grams of food for a paltry amount of calories! Okay, so you may hate broccoli, but that isn’t the point.

The point is that there are a ton of foods out there that you can actually EAT MORE OF FOR FEWER CALORIES!

exercise vs nutrition

Exercise is Equally Vital

All of that blabbering above doesn’t mean that you can completely forget about exercising. Why? Well for one, exercising SPEEDS up weight loss by helping create that calorie deficit I was talking about earlier.

But seriously, let’s not think about weight loss for one second. Exercise is vital on so many fronts! There are hundreds of reasons why you should exercise. Here are 3 incredible benefits of exercise listed below:

  1. Exercise increases skeletal muscle growth. This can lead to us being functionally stronger which makes everyday chores easier and easier. What this does is a serious matter: it improves our quality of life and for the older readers this can lead to you keeping your independence longer! Not only that, but this causes us to burn calories faster as well…muscles burn calories faster than fat…which speeds up weight loss.
  2. Exercise improves the cardiovascular system. We all want a strong and healthy ticker. Exercise is one of the factors that determine this! Exercise really increases our cardiovascular strength (think back to that point in a workout where you are about to die; your heart is racing and the blood is pumping…yeah that) therefore reducing our risk of heart disease and stroke.
  3. Exercise increases bone density. We hardly ever think about this reason to exercise but it is a serious matter especially for the ladies out there. Exercise in the form of strength training helps to increase our bone density and therefore can help prevent or fight osteoporosis. Strength training actually puts a pounding on our bones (in simplest terms) which makes them reinforce themselves and therefore increases their density!


Exercise vs nutrition: When it comes to weight loss, nutrition is 75% of the equation but you still need the other 25% (exercise) to equal weight loss!

Nutrition is vital in preventing obesity and helping us lose weight BUT exercise provides us with a health trifecta: increased muscle growth, cardiovascular health, and bone density!

When it comes to exercise vs nutrition, don’t over look one for the other…

Get the weight loss and health results you want by having both exercise and nutrition in your daily equation.

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Josh is the founder of DIY Active - your at home fitness source! He enjoys blending the latest science and expert advice with health practices to help you exercise smarter at home!
Josh Anderson
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