Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important? Part. 1

Part 1: Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important?

For the past couple of days I have been posing this question to my friends on Facebook, my followers on Instagram and on Twitter and the responses have been amazing!

So, which one is more important?

I found that choosing one or the other can be very situational.

One blogger commented that,

“They are both important. But it depends on what either of them can and will do for someone. Are either for weight loss, disease prevention, diagnosis corrections, build of stamina, preparation of a marathon, walk increase. One may be more important than the other depending on the situation.”

Determining what your goals are is essential to figuring out where you should start and what you should focus on first. If you are working on weight loss many might say to focus on your diet first and later down the road exercise will come into play. Some would also say to focus on diet MAINLY along with a light fitness regimen.

Another blogger posted that,

Wellness is achieved through a balance of many elements. Nutrition and exercise are two of the most important factors in determining your health status. As a registered nurse, I educate patients on both topics. In terms of preventative health, lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise are a great defense against chronic illness. There is a direct correlation between diet/exercise and risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and many other debilitating illnesses. Diet is more crucial for my patient population because they are paralyzed and do not have the luxury of physical activity.”

Did you catch that?

Her patient population consists of people who are paralyzed. Do you think they have the luxury of exercise? Certainly not, diet is most important to keep their bodies as healthy as possible.

Almost all of the responses I received were in agreement with both of them (diet and exercise) being equally important as a whole, but when it came down to choosing one or the other nutrition took center stage.

What is considered good nutrition?

According to the National Food Service Management Institute, “good nutrition means getting the calories we need for energy and the nutrients we need for proper growth.” They also state that, “Variety, balance, and moderation are keys to good nutrition”. If we look at those three keys to good nutrition how many of us can honestly say that we pick the foods we eat because we need the nutrients it gives us? My guess would be not too many. We pick the foods we eat

because it’s what we like, it’s what we crave, out of habit, or addiction. Good nutrition can be achieved after we have educated ourselves on what foods give our body what it needs.

The link below lists types of foods and lists specific nutrients they offer!

http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php

Here are some pointers in achieving variety, balance, and moderation:rainbownutrition

  • Variety
  • An easy way to obtain variety in your diet is to make sure you’re meals include an array of different colors, much like a rainbow!
  • Balance
  •     Fruit and vegetables should make up half of your plate shown in picture B. The remaining half should be split between protein choice and starchy/whole grains choice.divided_plate_630
  •     Learn how to calculate the calories you need daily. The link below can help you figure out the total calories you need daily for your size and also show you how to calculate the calories you need to lose weight.

http://www.eatingwell.com/diet_nutrition_health/weight_loss_diet_plans/diet_reports_information/3_easy_ways_to_balance_your_di?page=2

  • Moderation

I know you have heard time and time again, “Moderation is key” Well, it is!

  • Moderation is the control or the regulation of food intake WITHOUT depriving yourself of the foods you love.

This is key when it comes to good nutrition or dieting.

Utilizing moderation in your diet does NOT mean depriving your body of the foods you crave or enjoy.

For instance, I LOVE chocolate chip cookies but does that mean I am going to sit down and eat the whole container? No. One or two cookies will suffice! This can also be applied to alcohol consumption. Ladies, I know we love our wine but does that mean we have to drink the whole bottle? No. Moderation is key. One or two glasses are all we truly need unless your ultimate goal is to get plastered … (yikes!)

Moderation also means “changing it up”.

Consuming the same foods in excess can cause major health issues. Some nutrients may accumulate to toxic amounts, which can lead to serious disease. For example, too much vitamin A during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

By “changing it up” we can lower toxic levels in our body. Instead of eating a banana every single morning try eating an apple one day, a banana the next, and maybe berries another day. This gives us a variety of different vitamins and minerals and not too much of the same vitamin or mineral.

What can good nutrition do for you?

No one can deny that good nutrition has unlimited health benefits. Good nutrition is essential for our bodies to operate optimally for a lifetime. Medical online states it perfectly,

“…the benefits of good nutrition can be found in physical and mental health because a healthy diet provides energy, promotes good sleep, and gives the body what it needs to stay healthy.”

Here is a list of health benefits good nutrition offers (just a few):

  • Healthy heart
  • Strong bones
  • Higher energy levels
  • Better weight control
  • Positive brain health
  • May reduce the risk for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Help decrease bone loss

Above are some of the most important aspects of good nutrition. We can all agree that these are just a few examples among the thousands of ways to achieve good nutrition. Eating whole foods and drinking lots of water is the best way to maintain a healthy body. Try staying away from any beverages and snacks high in artificial ingredients and artificial sweeteners (splenda, equal, sweet ‘n’ low, etc.). Be sure to utilize the three keys to good nutrition: variety, balance, and moderation. Also, try to “eat a rainbow a day”; this simply means to choose colorful foods. These are just a few easy ways that will help you switch from an unhealthy diet to a nutrient dense, healthy diet.

If your ultimate goal is to live a healthy lifestyle nutrition alone won’t give that to you.

You have to be willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears in the gym!

I know, I know … it’s hard and it hurts. Well, look at it this way, if it was easy every person in the world would be doing it! Nutrition and exercise truly go hand in hand. They’re “two peas in a pod”, “two halves to a whole”, or even your “yin and yang”; you truly cannot have one without the other unless you have a physical impairment hindering you from moving your body. Physical exercise should be as much of a necessity as breathing!

Let me paint a picture for you.

You don’t exercise nor do you like to. You believe that you are a healthy individual because you “never” get sick during flu season. You consider yourself a pretty healthy person even though that long walk from your car to your office or climbing a couple of flights of stairs makes you feel like you just ran a marathon! You’re pretty convinced that you just don’t NEED to exercise because you “never” get sick.

What happens as you age and maintain this sedentary lifestyle?

Your heart grows weak and heavy; it isn’t strong enough to pump the blood your body needs to move effortlessly. Heavy breathing ensues not just when you walk up a flight of stairs but the slightest physical exertion standing up out of a chair can throw you into a breathing frenzy! Your muscles slowly waste away not only as a result of aging but as a result of inactivity making you prone to injury. You also develop osteoporosis in your bones making them very brittle, frail, and very susceptible to fractures or injury.

Before you know it, you’re either bed ridden or ordered to be in a wheel chair for the remainder of your life all because you decided not to designate only 30 minutes a day to exercise.

Here is an amazing fact:

Just 30 minutes of cardio and weight lifting each day can have an amazing effect on your bones when they…

6.9.2015 – Part.2 of Diet or Exercise – Which is more important?

meagan kunisch

What does fitness and exercise do for you?

What does fitness and exercise do for you? Does it provide a place of solitude from our less than perfect world? Has it taught you how to self motivate and have discipline in all areas of your life? Fitness has changed me as a person in more ways than I can count.

In the beginning it was all about looking good, am I right? I mean, there are always those problem areas everyone suffers with or so WE think. We want to get in the gym and fix them. Now, when I go to the gym I am constantly working on molding my body, building my muscles to look how I want them to look. I am also working on myself inwardly, teaching myself patience with my body in the gym and with my life outside of the gym.. You see, in the beginning looking good was largely about my presentation to the world. How does the world view me? Do they like what they see? Those thoughts consumed my mind as I was growing up. I think that is pretty much the “norm” for any teenager growing up in a superficial world.

Point blank: that doesn’t matter. Yes fitness and exercise is all about changing your appearance but, it should be deeper than that. You shouldn’t be working solely on your appearance you should be working on who you are as a person; growing stronger not only physically but mentally as well. Think about Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nicole Wilkins, or Ashley Kaltwasser… they all train day in and day out not only in the gym but outside of the gym as well. They have to maintain the highest level of self-control, self motivation, discipline, persistence, and determination to make it to where they are now. Those are characteristics that fitness and exercise has taught me.

I have learned self-control with my diet and have learned to listen to my body when it needs something like any nutrients I may be missing or craving. I listen to my “junk” cravings and control them as well. When I first started analyzing my diet and meal prepping it was hard, stressful, and frustrating. Now, it is like second nature. I cannot have a balanced day without the meals I prep OR without the exercise my body craves.

Self motivation is one of the most difficult characteristics for any person to learn. We can all find motivation through someone who is successful and who can offer wise words of wisdom because they have been where we are now, at the bottom. It takes a very strong person to get up in the morning and go to the gym because they know the goals they have set forth for themselves and they know that they want it more than they want to breathe. That is self motivation. You are motivated by what you want and not by what you see others have achieved.

Discipline, persistence, and determination I place in the same sort of category. I feel each of these characteristics are links in a chain. Without one or the other, there would be a missing link and an incomplete chain.

“It takes true determination to be persistent enough to learn the discipline it takes to achieve your goals.” – Me 🙂

Make sense?

Dig down deep and find your determination.

Be persistent and don’t give up.

Discipline yourself, don’t show up and do less than your best, ALWAYS work hard and success will follow.

I may not be where I want to be, but I am closer than I was yesterday.

M.

“Abs are made in the kitchen”

How many times have you heard the saying,” Abs are made in the kitchen”? I know I have heard it many times and I see it all over Instagram! It is honestly one of the truest sayings out there. No matter how hard you workout in the gym you cannot out-train a bad diet. It catches up to you eventually.

Over the past year I have been experimenting with meal prepping. I always do my best to prepare nutritious food to eat during the week when I am at my busiest. I tend to keep my meal preps very basic and I add small ingredients here and there to spice it up a bit before I eat. I always choose the following to prep:

  • Lean protein choice: chicken, salmon, turkey
    • Lean protein helps repair muscle tissue and aids in muscle growth. It also helps with the development of skin, hair, and nails.
    • Check out the following link for more information on specific protein sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/91587-four-major-sources-protein/

  • healthy carbohydrate: sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa,couscous, vegetables,etc.
    • Carbs are your body’s energy source; think of it as fuel to the fire. One of the most common misconceptions is that “carbohydrates make you fat”, this is just simply not an accurate statement! Think about it, too much of any food even healthy can cause weight gain. Carbohydrates can help you lose weight and help promote healthy weight loss. Moderation is key.
    • Check out the link below for six reasons why you should eat carbohydrates!:

http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/weight_loss_diet_plans/diet_exercise_tips/6_reasons_you_should_be_eating_carbs?page=3

  • Vegetables (a complex carb):I choose dark leafy green veggies like spinach, kale, or field greens. I also eat a lot of broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and asparagus. Even though vegetables are technically carbs because they have carbs, they still provide important vitamins and minerals that other carbs like brown rice or sweet potato may not provide.
    • Dark green, leafy vegetables are excellent source of fiber, folate, and carotenoids. They contain important vitamins and minerals that act as antioxidants in the body. Visit the link below for further information on how to choose these vegetables and how to store and prepare them:

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/fcs3/fcs3567/fcs3567.pdf

  •  Fat: I choose cooking oils such as olive oil or vegetable oil and I choose foods high in healthy fats like almonds, almond butter, avocados, etc.
    • Despite its name, fats are very important when it comes to a healthy diet. Fats are very important for energy and provide storage spots for your body’s energy. It also helps transport vitamin a, d, e, and k throughout your bloodstream and helps absorb them into your body.
    • Visit the link below for more information on fat and it’s functions in the body:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/43948-fats-important-diet/

mealprep

The picture above is from my meal prep today 🙂 I cooked quinoa for the first time. It came out bland. I am going to research some recipes to help season it up a bit. If anyone has any recipes you would like to share with me that would be so very helpful!

I also chose to cook broccoli because it is one of the easiest veggies to cook and one of my favorites!

For my protein source I almost always go with chicken. I add garlic powder, black pepper and this time I added a European Basil blend. It came out absolutely delicious and I did not need to add any salt. 🙂 I like bland/earthy flavors so you can obviously season your chicken with anything you prefer!

A couple of great low sodium or zero sodium options are:

  1. Mrs. Dash: you can get this seasoning at your local grocery store
  2. Flavor God: http://flavorgod.com/

Meal prepping doesn’t only have to be for the person who is a body builder or woman/man who is prepping for a show. Meal prepping can be applied to anyone’s weekly routine! It helps to have that food readily available when you’re tight on time. It is already prepared and cooked, just heat it up and chow down!

Happy Prepping!

M.

Destined for Greatness

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re destined for something more? That fire you feel within you burning day in and day out. Do you feel it?

The feeling that you are destined for something more than just what is; something more than the day-to-day activities that fleetingly pass us by like the wind through our fingertips. I do. I don’t feel like I was put on this earth to just wake up, work, pay bills, and partake in the small activities that keep our souls happily nourished. Now, don’t get me wrong I love my hobbies and activities I participate in but, I do feel that there is more that life has to offer than the “norm”. I do feel that I was put here to inspire and help motivate others as are so many of you! I can easily count on two hands the names of people who have come into my life and inspired me towards the healthy life I live today. I want to be that person someone turns to and says, “Thank you so much for inspiring me. You are the reason I now live a healthy life. You are the reason I was able to make a complete “180” and turn my life around.” To hear someone say those words would make my heart scream out with pure exhilaration.

I can’t wait to experience what the competition world has to offer me: the excitement, the glamour, the hard work: blood, sweat, and tears. I can’t wait to put in the hours of training and meal prepping it takes to succeed. You know why? I don’t expect anything less from myself. I know I will reach this goal of being on stage, win or lose. What sets you apart from the rest is confidence. Your self-confidence will radiate like the sun’s rays setting fires in other people’s hearts, a fire that will burn and motivate them towards achieving their own goals. I may not be strong every day but I can tell you one thing I get back up and get back at it, I don’t stop. I won’t stop until I am where I need to be, until I am where I know I should be.

So, here is my question to you:

Do you feel that you are destined for more, that you are destined for greatness? 

M.

“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”

C.S. Lewis

The differences between bikini, figure, physique, and body building divisions.

For the past few days I have been thinking hard and long about my fitness goals. Do I want to participate in athletic competitions like power lifting OR do I want to compete in an aesthetic competition like bikini, figure, physique, etc.? So far, I have decided that I want to participate in an aesthetic competition but, here is what I realized … I honestly have no clue what the differences are between the different divisions! To help me help you here is the breakdown:

Bikini – Bikini competitors are judged on the following:

  • Balance and shape
  • Physical Appearance
  • Complexion and skin tone
  • Poise
  • Overall presentation

bikiniimage

(Ashley Kaltwasser)

Figure – Figure competitors are judged on the following:

  • Small degree of muscularity with separation (no visible striations)
  • Overall muscle tone with shapely lines
  • Overall firmness
  • Not excessively lean
  • Healthy appearance

figureimage

(Erin Stern shown above. This is the division I will be prepping for and competing in!)

Physique – Physique competitors are judged on the following:

  • Overall aesthetics and look that is found in figure
  • Muscularity
  • Shape
  • Proportion
  • Muscle Tone
  • Poise
  • Beauty flow

physiqueimage

(DLB or Dana Lynn Bailey)

Bodybuilding – Bodybuilding competitors are judged on the following:

  • Judged in weight categories
  • Presentation
  • Muscular development
  • Overall assessment of symmetry

bodybuildingimage

So there ya go!

Listed above are all of the differences between each division. Here is a side by side picture that will help show you the differences.

Bikini, Figure, Physique, Bodybuilding 2

I have always been under the impression that I have a body built for bikini. I think the posing is very feminine (which I like), the suits are sexy, and there isn’t a huge demand for overall muscularity. I also like the figure division and is what I will be competing in. The division does not focus on a large degree of muscularity (which I like) but they still have an ATHLETIC/FIT appearance.

Competitions take 100% dedication. They will test not only your physical strength but your mental strength as well. You have to be consistent with both diet and workout regimen. As of right now I feel like I have been training my mind for competitions. I meal prep and I have just recently started counting my macros (fats, carbs, and proteins) so I can get a feel for it when the day comes that I begin prepping for a show. Hey! You know what they say, “You never know until you try!”

M.

“I am too positive to be doubtful. Too optimistic to be fearful. And too determined to be defeated.”

Square One

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Everyone has been there, the bottom of the totem pole. If you’re anything like me starting on this fitness journey can be overwhelming. Luckily, I had my brother who had already found his passion in the fitness world as a certified personal trainer. He was there to help guide me along this path; he was and still is a huge motivating factor in my life. Plain and simple, it helps to know at least a couple of people in the fitness world whether they are friends, family, co-workers, or people from your gym. You can go to them for advice and they will help mentor, motivate, and inspire you. I absolutely enjoy meeting other people who are educated in the health and fitness world because their brains are so full of knowledge! You can learn so much from someone just by talking to them and getting to know them.

Here’s something I know many of you may be able to relate to.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine, he is a great coach and very knowledgeable. I was talking to him about my fitness goals telling him my frustrations and telling him where I WANT to be. He … was … blunt and brutally honest. He told me, “The workouts you’ve been doing on your own won’t get you there.” He asked me a bunch of questions that I literally didn’t have an answer for: “What’s your process?”, “What’s your method?”, and “What are you going to do to get you to peak week?”, “Do you know how to prep for a show?”, and “Do you know how to develop your body or pose?” Talk about overwhelming and disappointing! Confusion hit me like a tidal wave. I immediately thought to myself, “Now what? What is it that I really want to do?” Finding out that what you have been doing all along is not working is a tough pill to swallow. It’s just like starting over from square one.

This is something I am sure everyone has experienced in life not only in fitness but also in our daily lives: relationships, careers, etc. I know I have experienced it outside of fitness. You think you want one thing and then something happens that shows you that maybe it’s not what you really want. Life constantly changes and adapting to its changes is what it’s all about. You take the punch, shake it off and get back at it. I am still unsure of what it is that I really want to do, whether it is competing or performance, but one thing is certain, I know that I live a healthy well-balanced life. That is something to be proud of. So, now that everything is out on the table it’s time to dig down deep and re-prioritize my goals and create a solid plan that will help me achieve them!

M.

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” -Henry Ford