You Can't Outwork a Poor Diet

Tyler Brown BS, CSCS

Tyler Brown

Have you ever eaten something DELICIOUS but not the most nutritious (like a pint of ice cream) and then thought, "wow that was amazing and I don't regret that at all," only to have a massive stomach ache an hour later and think about how hard you'll work out tomorrow to "burn it off?"

Do you look at cookies and decide whether it's worth it to eat one based on how many crunches and burpees you'll have to do (derived from a complex algorithm considering cookie diameter, number of chocolate chips, and how emotional you are at the moment)?

Do you ever think about how many miles you'll have to run per potato chip you consume? And then realize that as you've been thinking about it you've eaten the whole bag?

You can’t outwork a poor diet, it will always catch up to you.

No matter how badly you wish you could do 20 extra push-ups, or run for 20 extra minutes, it just isn’t that easy.

Think of how many calories are in your typical donut - about 500 give or take 100.

Now add in a hamburger, some pizza, cookies – even having each of these just once a week adds up quick when you look at the big picture!

What does “burning it off” look like when that is your diet? Lots, and lots, and LOTS of exercise.

Now consider the other stressors in your life – Family, Kids, Parents, Work, Meetings, Projects, Community Events, and on and on and ON. Even though some of these things are GOOD things, they are still stressors on your system.

Stress is cumulative, and you can only handle so much before you burn out. So now you’re adding how many HOURS of exercise into the mix to outwork your diet?? It’s unreasonable, it’s illogical; can it be done? Maybe. WILL IT? Probably not.

SO, now what?

Where do you start to clean up your diet? How do you start to clean up your diet? What’s a good resource? How do you sift through OODLES of information on the internet before “paralysis by analysis” kicks in?

Here’s where I started – Whole 30.

This is an eating plan that helps you reset and changes how you eat. NO. It is NOT detoxing. We are NOT drinking magic smoothies after eating half a grapefruit.

This is 30 days of cutting out foods that are known to cause inflammation in the body, and then slowly adding them back in to see if they cause adverse effects in your body.

For instance, I found out through doing this that consistently eating bread (one of the things you cut out for 30 days) makes me feel absolutely terrible. So I eat LESS of it, typically saving when I DO eat it for special occasions.

What I love about this plan also is that it’s realistic. My wife and I have just continued to eat according to the program because we love it – the food that we do eat tastes GREAT! I don’t feel like we have to deprive ourselves and it doesn’t feel like we’re missing out on anything.

This has been a wonderful lifestyle change for me personally because for years I’ve been one to try and outwork my eating habits, and since other stressors have increased in life (some GOOD, but stress is still stress), developing better eating habits allows me to RECOVER properly from my workouts and REBUILD stronger than before even though I’m spending LESS time training. It’s like a win-win-win-win-win.

Instead of trying to outwork your poor diet and then beating yourself up for failing to outwork your poor diet leading to more eating and further facilitating your poor diet, CHANGE your diet! It takes time, yes, but it’s worth it. Your health, your mental state, YOU. YOU are worth the CHANGE. But it starts with YOU too.

Give it a shot. Maybe it’s Whole 30, maybe not. The important thing is you find something that works for you that you can SUSTAIN LONG TERM. Consistency here is the key to success.

Work SMARTER, not harder.