Four Ratios of Food and Fitness
Use These Four Ideas to Balance Exercise and Calories
Not exercising and eating a lot means the scale goes up. But did you know that it’s also unhealthy to workout more and eat less?
Finding time for fitness is hard enough. Then add traditions like counting calories and meal prepping and you’re ready to pull your hair out. It seems impossible to keep your head above the water.
Relax, take a deep breath! There is a way to keep it simple!
Keep reading to learn about the four ratios to fitness…
The Math, Simplified
Eat More, Train Less - Bad
2. Eat Less, Train More - Bad
3. Eat More, Train More - Good
4. Eat Less, Train Less - Good
Depending on how often you exercise and how strenuous those workouts are, you will need to eat accordingly.
Ratio #1: Eat More, Train Less
This is the classic example of an unhealthy lifestyle. The person who eats more calories and barely exercises, if they do at all. This combination means you will add unwanted body fat.
If a person doesn’t exercise very much and has a sedentary job, they don’t need to eat very much to maintain energy during their daily activities. This can even go for the avid exerciser as well. If there are days where you don’t plan on training, you don’t have to eat as much food. It’s ok.
Ratio #2: Eat Less, Train More
You may be thinking: “Wait a second, isn’t this how I lose weight!?” Yes and no. More exercise, less calories is effective to a certain extent, but keep in mind that healthy weight loss is slow and steady.
To lose weight you do have to be in a caloric deficit but that only works in short stints. We’ve had members follow restrictive meal plans for months at a time. They were effective in the beginning and the person is happy! Then 6 months later they’re upset that the diet isn’t working any more.
Your body needs calories for repair and daily activity. If you’re working your butt off to lose some of your unwanted butt, you have to plan to eat a little more on those days to keep the process sustainable.
Choose 4-8 week blocks that may be more calorie restrictive, then back off for 8 to 12 weeks.
Ratio #3: Eat More, Train More
If you’re someone who is working out A LOT, you’ll need more calories than someone who doesn’t. Eating more will ensure that your energy levels stay up, you can keep up with your training schedule without burning out and you’re fueling your muscles.
This feels like the toughest pill to swallow for most members because they’re so used to Ratio #2. Eating more got them to this place in the first place, so why would it work now? We get it but we still need you to try eating a little more. A little more protein. A little more vegetables. Even a little more carbs. How’s that sound?
Ratio #4: Eat Less, Train Less
Say you’re someone who usually exercises frequently but is coming off of an injury, pregnancy, surgery or simply has a bad week and you have no time to workout. In this scenario, you’re moving less and therefore don’t need to eat as much.
Awareness is the key here. Be cognizant of lulls in your training routine. Maybe there are weeks you lift less on purpose or you run a few extra miles. Eat accordingly. When we get in the mindset that eating is important to sustain our exercise frequency we get blinded by our ambition and we end up over eating. One week of over eating isn’t the worst thing in the world, but you’ll have to pivot if it’s a prolonged period of less activity.
If this whole equation seems abstract and too complex, that’s okay! Like we said, this is a simplified version of these ideas. Of course a lot depends on your own body and how it works. Make sure to talk to a coach or find someone you trust with your fitness and nutrition goals. To simplify the process even further, get a good amount of sleep, eat nutritious foods, move your body often and find a way to de-stress daily.