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Photo by Elvert Barnes
Article by Daniel Kehres

What is more important for weight loss, food or fitness? That is a question everyone asks at one point when they are trying to get into better shape. 

Anytime you do strenuous exercise you use up all the energy in your body by burning a lot of calories. After exercising, the energy is replaced by eating. This is why a lot of people get really hungry or have cravings soon after they workout, especially for sweet or sugary foods such as chips or candy. The reason your body craves these highly processed and sugary foods is because they are absorbed very quickly.

I am not a fan of calorie counting (learn why at my Eat More, Exercise Less class), but just for example, you could go to the gym and burn 400 calories doing a workout. If you come home and are starving, you could easily eat 600 calories of processed food. Highly processed foods not only lack nutrients; they actually take nutrients away. So besides eating more calories than you just burned, you are also depleting nutrients from your body, taking two steps backward. 

While both are crucial to your success, focus on food first, then fitness. Creating healthy eating habits before starting a workout routine can be the key to success. The next time you workout, make sure you have healthy food for when you get home, so you aren't tempted to eat unhealthy, processed food. Some of my favorite post-workout snacks are whey protein powder with coconut milk or eggs over easy.

In my opinion, it is food first, always. Typically when people are trying to get into shape, the first thing they do is get a gym membership and start working out four to five days a week. Making this the first step in your weight loss journey can lead to big problems down the road if you aren’t eating the right type of food first.

© Daniel Kehres, 2011