The first step: eating right or working out properly?

  • trl_

    Posts: 994

    Mar 23, 2010 1:08 AM GMT
    If I were to build a solid habit, which would be more important to come first? There just may not be a "right" answer to this, but I'm curious on the general opinion on whether one should learn to eat right and then start an exercise program, or the opposite?

    The only reason I separate them is because in the past when I have tried to start both habits simultaneously, I end up giving up because it's too stressful
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    Mar 23, 2010 1:29 AM GMT
    It depends on your fitness goals. If you're not concerned about building strength/size, then all you need to do is eat right and do some type of light physical activity. Something to get your body moving and your heart pumping.

    Out of curiosity, what did you find so stressful about eating right and working out simultaneously?
  • trl_

    Posts: 994

    Mar 23, 2010 1:47 AM GMT
    Haha, it got really obnoxious counting all my calories and protein on top of all my school work and job and then having to also start the habit of working out regularly.

    Starting two habits at once is not easy for anyone who's busy, let alone one. I'm trying to take it slower this time around.
  • allatonce

    Posts: 904

    Mar 23, 2010 2:40 AM GMT
    I know everyone says abs are 90% diet and etc but I think I would start with physical activity. Being active makes you (well at least me) not desire as much junk, and keeps you in balance better. And I've seen some active people that really eat complete crap and look amazing.
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    Mar 23, 2010 2:47 AM GMT
    You really really really need to do both. Im not sure why you cant do both. Eating better is easy, try baby steps. Do the gym and start with small changes to your diet and build it up that way instead of doing something drastic that you wont stick to
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    Mar 23, 2010 2:52 AM GMT
    for me, it starts off with working out, which then goes on to desire better eating, which makes me want to work out harder, which in turn makes me want to eat better, which makes me more anal about everything...
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    Mar 23, 2010 3:20 AM GMT
    work out.

    then just assess what "bad" or useless foods you eat right now, and just replace them with good foods. Forget counting your calories.
    the obvious example : eliminate soda ( or at least drastically reduce), drink water.
    or

    maybe go semi vegetarian ... and eat a lot.
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    Mar 23, 2010 3:47 AM GMT
    Eating right is first.
  • mrcpu1

    Posts: 51

    Mar 28, 2010 3:22 AM GMT
    I work, go to medical school part time and have chores to do at home, if had to choose between working out and eating right, I would start with eating right.

    I just have to change my parking habits at work and school, park further away and walk briskly icon_smile.gif

    This round though, I jumped right in to both, eating right and working out - I need to eat everyday, however, if I miss a night at the gym, I feel good still because of what I'm eating.
  • wave173

    Posts: 45

    Mar 28, 2010 3:47 AM GMT
    Working out would ideally come first. There is no such thing as a "bad" food. Just remember everything in moderation. If you start your exercise routine first, you should be hungrier and want more food. Once you're body is habituated to your workout routine you can adjust your caloric intake by changing your diet to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and lean proteins into your diet. Then count your calories and calculate how many calories you need for your ideal weight gain/loss.
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    Mar 28, 2010 3:58 AM GMT
    I imagine it would be best to start building both at the same time, but if it's stressing you out then it's probably counterproductive.

    I know that when I started, I started eating better first. Generally speaking, when I eat well I have greater amounts of energy and feel significantly less sluggish. But every person's different-- I imagine if one's not working, it couldn't hurt to give the other a shot until you find what works for you?
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    Mar 28, 2010 3:59 AM GMT
    fizzle saidHaha, it got really obnoxious counting all my calories and protein on top of all my school work and job and then having to also start the habit of working out regularly.

    Starting two habits at once is not easy for anyone who's busy, let alone one. I'm trying to take it slower this time around.


    I can relate I travel on the road for my job so it becomes a challenge sometimes to eat right. And for me I work 13 hours a day so some days I have to really drag myself to the gym. It's not that I don't want to go just out of energy. But working hard at both.
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    Mar 28, 2010 4:25 AM GMT
    Personally, I think that eating right is better. I guess my reasoning is that you get the energy you need from eating healthily. Have you ever tried working out off of fast food and refined sugar? I feel quite lethargic and usually get muscle spasms. Lean meats, fruits and veggies, nuts, etc. and plenty of water makes me feel good enough to want to work out. Plus, your fat intake automatically lessons before you even start to work out. Food for thought...pardon the pun. icon_wink.gif
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    Mar 28, 2010 4:36 AM GMT
    fizzle saidHaha, it got really obnoxious counting all my calories and protein on top of all my school work and job and then having to also start the habit of working out regularly.

    Starting two habits at once is not easy for anyone who's busy, let alone one. I'm trying to take it slower this time around.

    As I've admitted on other threads, I'm waaaaay too lazy to read ingredient labels and count calories and fat grams - it's a lot easier to just focus on working out and and make healthy food choices, as others have suggested. I like to feel full so I can enjoy a weekly cheat meal of whatever I want AND eat as much as I like of:

    - grilled, broiled or baked chicken/turkey breast, salmon fillet
    - salads and vegetables
    - beans/legumes
    - egg whites

    ...and because I'm not 20 and naturally thin I enjoy the following in moderation:

    - skim milk
    - low fat yogurt
    - fruit
    - nuts
    - oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread
    - olive oil (minimal)

    ...because I'm careful with my choices by reducing (or eliminating) certain things like:

    - soda
    - alcohol
    - added salt or sugar
    - white flour products
    - dairy except for skim milk
    - meat other than chicken or fish (mostly)
    - anything fried or (largely) sauteed
    - sauces and condiments

    Compared to keeping a food log, eating like this is easy!
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    Mar 28, 2010 4:39 AM GMT
    If the question is one or the other, most definately diet.
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    Mar 29, 2010 3:19 PM GMT
    Workout first. Start slowly and with light weights.

    As you increase in strength, your appetite will rise to meet the greater demands you're putting on your body. Once you notice yourself eating more, start paying attention to the nutrition content of what you're eating.

    Hiring a trainer would also be a good idea to learn what foods your body needs for the type of workouts you're doing. There is no "one size fits all" diet or fitness program.
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    Mar 29, 2010 3:22 PM GMT
    Rujock saidYou really really really need to do both. Im not sure why you cant do both. Eating better is easy, try baby steps. Do the gym and start with small changes to your diet and build it up that way instead of doing something drastic that you wont stick to


    I agree... motion is critical, all the good eating in the world can't do you any good if you just remain sedentary. Still all the motion in the world can't counteract unhealthy eating habits properly. The two have to go hand-in-hand best I can tell.
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    Mar 29, 2010 3:24 PM GMT
    fizzle saidIf I were to build a solid habit, which would be more important to come first? There just may not be a "right" answer to this, but I'm curious on the general opinion on whether one should learn to eat right and then start an exercise program, or the opposite?

    The only reason I separate them is because in the past when I have tried to start both habits simultaneously, I end up giving up because it's too stressful


    You need to do both at the same time, every day, as an integral part of your lifestyle.

    Diet will affect the way you feel. If you don't eat enough, or it wrongly, you'll feel like crap and won't want to work out. Working out is crucial.

    Both, at the same time, every day. It's not a one day, one week, or one month thing, it's a lifestyle.
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    Mar 29, 2010 5:19 PM GMT
    fizzle saidHaha, it got really obnoxious counting all my calories and protein on top of all my school work and job and then having to also start the habit of working out regularly.


    I think I see the problem here.

    Don't count calories.

    You are making a chore out of it. Just concentrate on making healthy food choices, and you won't have to worry much about the quantities. Above all, don't be anal about it.

    And exercise. Do not overdo it, and it won't get too stressful. On the contrary, exercise, if done right, should relieve stress.