- The Premier Italian American Newspaper Since 1931 -
Strawberries and measuring tape.

How To Get The Perfect Combination of Diet & Exercise

Diet and exercise may not be your favorite terms. But don’t get too caught up with terminology! Diet simply refers to eating nutritious, moderate meals. Exercising entails becoming more active and fit. And although most individuals focus on nutrition when attempting to shed pounds, physical activity is also a critical component of a weight-loss regimen. While you’re moving, your body needs energy (calories) to function, which helps burn off the calories you consume. But is there a perfect combination of diet and exercise?

There are no significant results if you train hard and eat poorly, as there are no effective results if you eat well and do not engage in any physical activity. Just reducing your diet without any exercise leads to loss of muscle mass instead of fat, which is futile. So, how do you find a balance between these two things and know what is best for you?

The science behind it

The most common motive to start exercising is to lose weight. And a well-programmed exercise plan makes it very possible to progress towards that goal. But, for faster weight loss, physical activity must be accompanied by specific changes in diet. Weight loss can be at the expense of body water, fat or muscle mass. Therefore, it is essential as a first step to determine the body composition and energy intake for each individual.

Before starting with an exercise regiment, we need to get to know our bodies.

Body composition is the ratio of fat, muscle, water, and bone in a human body and helps us determine more closely what body mass consists of. For example, someone may have an excessive number of pounds for their height, but at the expense of a higher percentage of muscles in the body.

In addition, we need to know the current energy intake, i.e., how many calories we need for essential life functions (Basal Metabolic Rate – BMR).

The indicative formula for calculating BMR in adults is:

BMR = 1 x KG x 24h for men

BMR = 0.9 x KG x 24h for women

So for a man of 176Ibs or 80kg, the basal metabolism is 1x80x24 = 1920kCal. For a woman of the same weight, it is 0.9x80x24 = 1728kCal.

More numbers to get the perfect combination of diet and exercise

RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) is the energy intake for daily sedentary activities (reading, writing, thinking, etc.). The most straightforward formula to calculate is:

RMR = BMRx1,3

AMR (Active Metabolic Rate) is the energy intake we need for sports activities and physical work during the day. Its amount varies depending on how physically demanding the work we do is and how intense and extensive the exercise is.

Another important indicator is the SDA (Specific Dynamic Action) of the food we eat. SDA shows how much a specific type of food we eat speeds up basal metabolism in the post-meal period. Protein intake speeds up metabolism in the post-meal period by as much as 30%, carbohydrate intake by 6%, and fat by 4%.

How can exercise help you increase the effectiveness of your diet?

  • A well-planned workout will lead to a reduction in the percentage of fat and an increase in the rate of muscle. A higher percentage of muscles in the body leads to an increase in BMR (speeds up metabolism).
  • Exercise increases your daily caloric expenditure because you spend a certain amount of energy on training.
  • Research shows that regular exercise reduces the subjective desire to eat junk food. But you can always allow yourself a scoop of gelato when you feel like it!

Living healthy is no longer a mission impossible with a programmed diet and well-planned workouts. In addition to the exercise program, you can also get a detailed nutrition plan in most fitness centers.

A woman holding an apple and a donut.
If you want to get the perfect combination of diet and exercise, moderation is key.

When to eat and exercise for the best results

Eating and exercising at once can often seem like too much pressure. But nowadays, there are many tools you can use – workout apps are always on hand. Your phone is your ally when you want to get healthy and fit. You can put in your daily calorie intake, note your workouts and track your progress. And, depending on when in the day you usually exercise, we have some diet tips.

If you exercise in the morning

The primary energy source for your body is glycogen – a carbohydrate that dissolves and stores in the muscles and liver. The body is never in a complete state of rest and never goes out, even during the night, so we deplete almost all our energy reserves when we sleep.

A wake up and workout sign.

If you have a habit of exercising in the morning, before you start exercising, be sure to eat a meal that contains 200-300 calories from fruits, whole grains, and a small amount of protein.

If you exercise during lunch

If your time to exercise is in the afternoon, it would be best to save lunch for after training because you will have enough glycogen in your body from breakfast to withstand activity without any problems. On the other hand, research has shown that you will burn calories faster from lunch if you eat them after exercise. Eat a meal rich in low-fat protein, vegetables, and whole grains at least 30 minutes after exercise.

If you exercise in the evening

If you prefer to exercise in the evening, be very careful. Exercising after a hearty dinner can slow you down, make you sluggish, and even cause nausea during the exercise itself. If you plan to exercise in the evening that day, eat a more nutritious breakfast and lunch, and prepare a lighter meal with no more than 500 calories for dinner.

Final thoughts

Everybody is different in terms of food and physical activity. Take note of how your body reacts during your workouts, as well as of your performance. Allow your experience to help you determine which eating habits are ideal for you. Staying healthy at home is more than possible. You can maintain a diary to track how your body’s reaction to meals so you can change your eating habits for peak efficiency. Getting the perfect combination of diet and exercise isn’t always easy, but it’s highly achievable!