Taking a holistic approach to fitness is more than just ensuring that you’re covering all the bases when it comes to physical activity. Both exercise and nutrition are equally important when it comes to fitness. While some may describe the process as being 80:20 in favour of nutrition, it helps to think of it more as a 100:100 when it comes to how much attention you ought to be paying to either.
If your priority is to perfect your form or technique for a variety of workouts, or build a specific set of muscles, then consulting a nutritionist may not be of much help. However, supplementing exercise with proper nutrition is important when it comes to realising the full benefits of exercise.
Different individuals will have different dietary requirements. For instance, a low-carbohydrate and high-protein diet may be sufficient for some when it comes to building lean body mass, whereas people with other genetic makeups may react better to intermittent fasting or a higher-carbohydrate diet. It is rare for people to get their nutrition dialled in on the first try, so be prepared to experiment here and there. Also, be aware that your nutritional requirements will change as your training and age progresses.
The truth is, nutrition is arguably more important if your aim is to achieve fat-loss. This is because exercise only accounts for only a small portion of caloric expenditure. Other areas such as basal metabolic rate, thermic effect of food, and non-exercise activity thermogenesis also contribute to one’s daily rate of expenditure. Exercise alone only takes up about 10 to 30 percent of your energy output.
Your food consumption on the other hand, determines 100% of your calorie intake. In short, you lose 100% of the food that you do not eat. That being said, it is crucial to not starve yourself or engage in unsustainable or unhealthy means of extreme dieting. Always diet within your means and seek a professional dietician if you remain uncertain or have pre-existing medical issues.
If you are guilty of being overly focused with exercising and neglecting what you consume, start paying closer attention to your nutrition. Often at times, physical plateaus can be broken by making a slight tweak to either how much you eat, when you eat, and how often you do it. Start small, and see how it goes!