Body Hacks

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Ask ten fitness professional this question, get ten different answers. That’s pretty tough, considering it looks like an either-or kinda question. The further you... Exercise Versus Nutrition: Where Do I Start?

Ask ten fitness professional this question, get ten different answers. That’s pretty tough, considering it looks like an either-or kinda question.

The further you get down your own pathway to health, the more you will see that the answer can get mucky. Don’t let that deter you. We’re gonna beat this issue into submission for you.

By the end of this blog, you’ll know exactly which you want to focus on, promise. Am I right Body Hacks team?



Admittedly, it’s a tough subject. Opinions are strong.

The problem with trying to change your nutritional habits and exercise habits at the same time, is these are both pretty big stones. Moving two habits at once is not recommended.

You’ll be better served to get one stone rolling, then kick over the other. The question is, which first?

We’ll start by digging into everybody’s favorite, food. Then we’ll get into movement piece, ending with the winner.

Note: If you skip ahead to the Winner section, it won’t make sense. Hang with me on this one.




You can, with discipline, make huge strides in your mass by only working with your nutrition.

By the numbers [read: estimations] nutrition accounts for 80% of your health plan. If you do nothing to adjust your nutrition, it’s closer to 100% if your goal is to gain weight, lose weight or improve performance.

You cannot affect change in these areas without doing something different with your food, not in the long run, not by any amount worth talking about, not for most people.

If you’re the exception, congratulations on being a weirdo.

It’s by this logic that the diet industry is the beast we’ve come to loathe. Change people’s relationship with food, they usually see changes in the short run.

Also “by the numbers,” what they don’t generally see is a permanent change. Diet may account for the largest piece of the health pie, but it won’t give your program teeth, so to speak.

Maybe exercise is worth a look-see?




Fitness aficionados love to say, “you can’t outrun a bad diet.” That just means movement alone won’t un-ring the bad eating bell.

For many people, all that movement is the reason they falter in the nutrition department. You could say the work goes against them.

Does this invalidate exercise? Absolutely not. You can start your program by dialing in your nutritional choices (for your goals), but you will ascribe more self-worth to your fitness choices.

The choice to engage in fitness is the first series of events tied to a keystone habit. Keystone habits are habits that have reciprocal effects on your other habits.

A person who exercises, for example, perceives himself as a healthy individual. He is more likely to make other healthy choices in support of his self-perception, choices like better eating.

It’s no guarantee, but fitness is the foundation, not the other way around.

Note: ignore the first italic sentence at the top of the next section. It’s not for you.




You skipped ahead, didn’t you? You were specifically asked not to do that, you little rule-breaker. Now you’re gonna be confused. Go back to read the Nutrition section if you don’t want to be totally lost.

Are they gone? Whew.

Congratulations on NOT skipping ahead, reading through the first two sections. You’ve earned this…

You might think from that last section that we’re lobbying for exercise first, then nutrition. Not true.

For some people making some different choices with their food is more tolerable. It gets them immediate results. It’s what they need for self-confidence.

Just do yourself a favor. Put a timeline on your diet-only program. The glamor will wear off quickly. Eventually you will get sick of it.

A good benchmark is 30-90 days, then no matter what, start exercising.



For the rest of us, it’s get-that-booty-moving time right now. We need to exercise first, then figure out the nutrition thing later.

Get the habit of exercise in place. Your habits are what you do all the time, so exercise as often as you can stand it, every day if possible. I promise you won’t overtrain.

Then, when you can’t take it anymore, adjust your food. No matter wheich direction you go, you want to take a gut-check about 30-90 days out.

Ask yourself: What is my goal now? What am I willing to do to get it?

At least every 90 days, it’s good to reconsider your health, how you’re progressing. Consider if your plan needs adjustment.

Toiling on one goal for six months is the quickest route to quitting. Don’t do that. Also, make sure to adjust your food to your goals. If you don’t know how to do that, meet with a professional.