Tuesday, October 8, 2013


OK, every so often I get asked the question, "What is more important, diet or working out?"
"Can you give me a percentage?"

Let me tell you right now that I hate that question as it stands.

All calorie requirement recommendations are based on estimates. Those estimates are based on frequency of exercise among other things. How can somebody reliably tell you what to eat without seeing how hard you are working out? 
They can guess, and then assuming you are keeping that intensity level steady, can make adjustments to  attempt to change your body composition.
SO.....I guess the answer to this question depends on how you look at it. What is more important? Important for WHAT? Important to have a strict diet? Important for losing fat? Important for performance?
Let me assume they mean importance of having a strict diet for the purposes of losing body fat.

If you are working out like a freaking animal, and want to keep your muscle, then you can and will need extra calories to support your lean muscle tissue. This allows for less of a strict diet and more fatty foods which are more calorie dense.
Take for example Mariusz Pudzianowski, 5 time World's Strongest Man.
Mariusz trains twice a day, 6 days a week and is ripped! 
You wouldn't believe his diet though..
Here’s a quote from Muscle and Fitness magazine:
“My energy comes from my diet. Breakfast is 10 eggs and 2-3 pounds of bacon. Between meals, I eat lots of candy…I need it for energy. Lunch, at 1 or 2 p.m., is a double meal of a Polish pork chop, sauerkraut and potatoes.
An hour later, I work out, then take lots of supplements: magnesium, creatine, amino acids, all that stuff, and more chocolate.
Dinner is whatever meat I can get: steaks, pork chops, bacon, plus more sauerkraut and potatoes. [After I work out] I have a protein shake and more chocolate.”

If you are barely breaking a sweat, then diet becomes much more important in order to achieve fat loss. It also becomes more important if you wish to keep your heart and arteries healthy too. Let's not forget that.

So, the next time you get that question, remember the correct answer is "IT DEPENDS!"

Thomas Murphy, CSCS, Pn1