Is diet or exercise more important

Five myths about diet and exercise debunked

One of the biggest non-truths I see out there is that either diet or exercise doesn't matter. For instance, you may have seen ads for diets that miraculously work while you sit on your butt all day. Or you may have read about workout programs that enable you to look fabulous, all while eating burgers and fries. Unfortunately, there is no such luck — both exercise and diet have to go hand-in-hand!

What are the most common myths when it comes to diet and exercise?

There are a lot of them floating around. Here are the most common ones that I want to dispel once and for all:

  1. Diet & exercise are all about looking good. While improved physical appearance might be one positive result of diet and exercise, they're about so much more than that. We train to be healthy, to function in our daily lives with energy, to enhance our well-being, and to stay active and pain-free. The purpose of exercise is to enhance your performance and prevent injury, whereas the goal of a proper diet is to help maintain or improve your health. When combined, you'll achieve a balanced body composition.
  2. You can "burn off" your last fatty meal through exercise. In the world of fitness and health, there's more to it than just calories in vs. calories out. Food has hormonal effects on the body, and those hormones can trigger your body to store or burn fat. What does this mean? Meals lacking in nutrients can actually make your workouts less effective.
  3. Diet is more beneficial than exercise. Diet can't prevent muscle imbalances caused by hours of sitting, poor movement patterns, and inactive muscles. Only a corrective, balanced, and educated training routine can do that.
  4. You can get a sculpted body through cardio alone. Resistance training is the only way you can come close to "spot reduction." While you can't just lose weight from one trouble spot, you can sculpt and define areas of the body with strength training.
  5. If you work out, you can eat whatever you want. Exercise alone can't provide you with your essential nutrition, including fluids, essential amino acids from protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, or minerals. Whole foods are the only way to get the most benefit out of your nutrition.

For all of the reasons listed above, you'd be cheating yourself if you excluded either diet or exercise in your pursuit of health and well-being. You need both to achieve the best results and live a long and healthy life. Remember that you need to follow a thoughtful and well-researched training program in which the dietary guidelines complement your workouts.

Dasha L. Anderson is a celebrity trainer and fitness expert in New York City, with a master's degree in exercise science and sports nutrition and a specialty in performance enhancement and injury prevention. She is also the founder and head certifying instructor of Kettlebell Kickboxing and has contributed to Self, Shape, Fitness Rx, and Epoch Times.