What’s More Important: Nutrition or Exercise?

In Healthy Lifestyle by Jennifer

Today I’d like to present a guest post by the always active Josh Anderson, personal trainer and the founder of Always Active Athletics. His site promotes the D.I.Y. lifestyle providing the support we need to keep our exercise and healthy habits on our own terms.

We’ve all heard the old saying that weight loss is only 25% exercise and 75% nutrition. In fact, we hear it so often that it has started to become ingrained in our “health mantra”. Obviously, this means that we can ditch exercise completely because it means so little, right? Why waste the time? It also means that we should only focus on what we eat, right?

While those might seem like grand ideas, they are completely wrong – like severely wrong! Both nutrition and fitness are extremely vital to your overall health! Just doing one while neglecting the other is like making this awesome casserole, putting it in the oven but not actually turning on the oven – you’re only halfway there! Enough talk – let’s break down the benefits of both and why they should be an intricate part of your life!



Make no mistake about it, when it comes to losing weight and accelerating your results, you must control your food intake without letting it control you! I mean seriously, it is way easier to control what you eat than it is to bust your butt on an elliptical for an hour. For example, what’s easier? To pound out the stair-stepper for 2 hours or simply not chow down on that massive burger? Well, duh – simply put the burger down!

It just makes sense and is an easier strategy to lose weight in a sustainable way! Let’s break down a few more examples (all exercises are estimated for a 140 pound female with results being bodyweight dependent):

  • Slice of cheese pizza (280+ calories): 50 min. of brisk walking (4mph)
  • Mozzarella sticks(750+ calories): 84 min. of playing tennis
  • 12 oz. soda(135+ calories): 20 min. of hiking
  • 12 oz. light beer(100+ calories): 30 min. of bowling

So do the activities on the left or right seem easier in terms of energy expenditure? If your goal is to lose some unwanted weight then you can see that it’s all about creating a calorie deficit and this is more easily accomplished with healthy foods that aren’t calorically dense (to an extent)!

When it comes to weight loss then we can say that nutrition is the most important thing to take care of to begin with because it’s just easier to not devour junk food than it is to exercise to death. In fact, you can actually eat more healthy food in terms of volume. For example, 3 cups of broccoli equate to over 550 grams of food for only 156 calories – it just makes sense! There are so many other foods like this can help you stay full by eating more for less calories!


Well we’ve made quite the case for controlling your nutrition. You may think it’s King when it comes to living a healthy life – who needs exercise? While I could go all day on the benefits of exercise – literally ask my friends – just remember that it is truly what keeps your heart healthy and you functionally fit.

We’ve already mentioned weight loss in terms of nutrition, but exercise can also be pivotal in weight loss by helping to boost your metabolism and blast more calories. But let’s put the whole “weight loss issue” aside for now. Exercise can improve your life in so many ways like helping your clothes fit better or just helping you sleep better or even these three huge benefits below:

  1. Increases muscle growth – If you are looking for a way to improve your overall quality of life then this should be high on your list! As we age, we tend to become less active and lose muscle mass. Exercise is a way to reverse this by increasing our muscle mass (which burns more calories), which can make simple chores easier to complete. This can lead to you keeping your independence longer! Uhh… yes please!
  2. Improves your cardiovascular system –Who doesn’t want a healthy heart? Exercise is vital to help improve our cardiovascular health and decrease our risk of heart disease and a little goes a long way! With heart disease and stroke being one of the leading causes of death in the United States, it’s important to reduce your risk as much as possible and exercise is key for this!
  3. Increases bone density – This might be a reason to exercise that you never think of. Well ladies (and the guys out there) listen up – strength training can increase your bone density! This can help prevent and fight osteoporosis! When you exercise in the form of strength training, the movements “pound” your bones in a fashion that causes them to reinforce themselves and therefore become thicker.



When it comes to exercise and nutrition we can’t overlook one for the other. While nutrition is great at helping us crush unwanted calories and therefore lose weight, exercise offers us a boosted metabolism, increased muscle mass, improved heart health, increased bone density…etc. Make sure to incorporate both into your daily life in order to get the results you deserve!

Josh Anderson (M.S.) is a personal trainer and the founder of Always Active Athletics: “DIY Fitness, Food and Lifestyle!” He combines the latest science with a practical approach to make exercise as convenient and efficient as possible! Check out his site for the latest expert workouts and tips.