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


Not only is nutrition vital in living a healthy lifestyle but so is exercise. Exercise should be as much of a necessity as good nutrition for many reasons. One of the most important is that it helps to treat and prevent bone diseases like Osteoporosis.

Exercise also helps build and improve:

  • Muscle strength
  • Coordination
  • Balance
  • Overall health

Exercise is my absolute favorite part of my day! It’s all I think about when I am at work all the way up until I walk through my gym’s doors. But not everyone enjoys exercise like I do. Below are a few statistics I found on about Americans and exercise:

  • Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
  • More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.
  • Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (e.g., TV, video games, computer).

I don’t know about you, but I am appalled! I am pretty sure I scared my mother with the sound my jaw made when it hit the ground (okay, not really, but it was a pretty good visual!) I can and can’t believe the percentage of adults that participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day: 5%! That’s it?!

Did you know that by participating in 30 minutes of cardio vascular training and weightlifting you can:

  • Help prevent heart disease and stroke, the #1 and #5 killer of Americans.
  • Achieve greater peak bone mass
    • Bone is living tissue, like muscle, that gets stronger as a result of being put under pressure. Bone mass typically peaks in the third decade of life. After this time, bone deteriorates
    • The best exercise for building strong bones is the weight-bearing kind (i.e. weight lifting, hiking, jogging, tennis, and dancing). Swimming and bicycling are not weight-bearing forms of exercise although they are great for cardiovascular training.
    • Improve balance, coordination, and muscle strength.

Remember: always consult your doctor before starting any form of training, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart issues, diabetes or obesity.

A great example as to why diet and exercise go hand in hand is bone diseases like Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the deterioration of the bones where they become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium and vitamin D. A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can help prevent and/or manage osteoporosis. Also, regular physical activity strengthens the bone as a result of being put under pressure (weight bearing exercise).

Nutrition alone cannot help prevent and manage bone disease and vice versa. Both exercise and nutrition are needed. Physically active people hold calcium in their bones, while sedentary people tend to lose calcium. Weight bearing exercises are recommended for people at any age.

As you can see both exercise and nutrition are needed to successfully help prevent and manage not only Osteoporosis but your over-all health.

Now that you know why you should exercise, maybe you don’t know where to start. Below are some recommendations I came up with to help you get started:

  • Join a gym: A sense of community can be very motivating.
  • Get an accountability partner: It’s easier to stay motivated when you are held accountable.
  • Do your own research: There are various kinds of exercise tutorials all over the internet. Check out, you-tube, and instagram for help with learning new exercises or diet tips.

  • Begin with a personal trainer. Personal trainers can be a huge help or can be a huge disaster. Be picky in choosing who you work with, and trust your gut. If you are not comfortable with the way he/she trains, ask for someone else. Do not ever put your well being on the line. You can learn a lot from personal trainers. If you start out training with a personal trainer for a few months, chances are you will learn some knowledge that will give a foundation to build upon and get you started on your own. For example, I started training with my brother. He was certified at the time and knew much more than I did. That was three years ago. Now, I workout on my own. I do my own research and put together my own workouts.
  • Utilize Technology: we live in a very technologically advanced world. Apps like MyFitnessPal can help you track nutrition and exercise. You can also use fitness bracelets like FitBit. The only warning I give with utilizing apps and bracelets is that they should not be the sole form of tracking your physical activity/nutrition. They should be supplemental, or used along with tracking your fitness manually. They are not 100% accurate and are likely to malfunction at any time (psh, technology, right?).
  • Keep a fitness journal: This was another thing I used to get started in fitness. All you need is a blank notebook and a pen. Jot down the date and what muscle group you are training. Underneath this you simply write down the exercises you want to do along with how many sets and repetitions. Also, write down the weight you did for each exercise. The reason for this is so that you have something you can refer back to in the future. In order to get stronger you have to move up in weight. Having a visual record helps you judge how much to bump up your weight.

Below is an example of how you would write out your routine:

6/9/15 – Back and Bis

  1. Lat Pull Down – 10 x 4 (10 repetitions for 4 sets) – 50lbs (the weight you used)
  2. Barbell Row – 10 x 4 – 45lbs
  3. Close Grip Row – 10 x 4 – 40lbs
  4. Pull-ups – 10 x 4 – body weight

Nutrition and exercise are vital to living a healthy lifestyle. I truly believe you cannot have one without the other unless you are a person with disabilities that hinder you from participating in physical exercise like people who are paralyzed. In this situation, nutrition would be most important.

If living a healthy lifestyle is a goal of yours or if you are looking to turn your life around only YOU can make that decision. Only YOU can take that first step. No one is going to do it for you. It will be hard, it will be frustrating. You will have days where you want to give up, but guess what? You will have many more days of feeling successful; Days where the blood, sweat, and tears are worth it. The overwhelming feeling of accomplishment truly trumps the feeling of failure.

It’s time to make your move towards living a healthy life!

Follow my blog to help inspire and motivate you towards living a FitLife.


Dealing with gym intimidation


Intimidation and lack of experience:

Two of the top reasons rookie gym-goers don’t want to be a part of a gym. Whenever I speak to someone about working out and the gym I constantly hear this:

“I want to work out but, I am really nervous about working out by myself because I don’t know what I’m doing and the people who are at the gym are really intimidating.”

Point blank, it’s all in your head.

I will agree that the “swole meat-heads” who are getting their “pump” in the weight section can be quite intimidating. I mean c’mon, they look like they could curl a train! But honestly they don’t care about what you’re doing. They don’t know that you have no idea how to work out. They don’t know your workout routine or that you are a newbie. All they care about is what they’re doing to get their own results.

So, how do you deal with this intimidation?

This is what I recommend:

1. Start with a workout partner

Workout partners are amazing. They help you feel comfortable in a new environment and if they have experience, they will be able to help and guide you through the basics of working out. If they don’t have experience, you both will be able to help each other through the process.

2.Listen to Music

If you don’t have a workout partner I always recommend listening to music. When you have those headphones in your ear it is like you’re in your own little world. No one will bother you when you have your head phones in (unless you have that one overly talkative person who goes to the gym to socialize instead of work out). Listening to your favorite kind of music also helps you to feel comfortable. You know your favorite music and it helps to relax or pump you up for your workout.

3. Do your research

YouTube is a blessing for anyone trying to learn something new especially exercises for working out. Practically every exercise you can think of can be found on YouTube. Utilize YouTube and watch the videos to learn the proper form and technique. Once you have done this research, write down the exercises you think you will be comfortable performing and take this list with you to the gym. When I first started going to the gym, I found it so much easier to stay on track when I had a list of exercises to complete.

4. Meet People

I know this is a tricky one especially for you introverts out there like me. I have always been shy but working in the service industry for so many years and interacting with customers has made it slightly easier for me to socialize with random people. I have found that a smile and a “hello” make a world of difference when you see people at the gym. I mean you are all there for the same common goal and therefore all have one thing in common: exercise. The personal goals are all different but the common goal is exercise. If you look at it from this point of view it should relax you enough to allow yourself to be friendly with others in the gym and should help lessen the overwhelming intimidation.

These are only a few ideas that have helped me from personal experience. Even though I am no longer a “rookie” in the gym, I am constantly learning. I don’t know every exercise and I don’t know the ins and outs of how your diet affects your progress. Health and nutrition is a continuous cycle of starting as a beginner, educating yourself and learning, applying that information, and then gaining the experience. This cycle repeats each and every time you find yourself learning something new. I can’t explain enough how many times I have felt like I started back at square one, like my first blog post. It is a part of learning. Don’t give up. Reach out for help if you need it. The fitness community, as superficial as it may seem, consists of many selfless people who are willing to help.

You have to step out of your comfort zone, throw away those negative comments and excuses you make to yourself each and every day.

You are the only one holding yourself back from reaching your goals.