One of the common questions that we receive at the Tough Spot Gym is, “How can I lose weight and get in shape?” (Or one of the many variants thereof- “What’s the fastest way I can lose 10 lbs?”, “How can I slim down my hips and thighs?”, “How can I lose the post-baby weight?”, “How can I reduce fat and build muscle?”, etc.). Our philosophy at the Tough Spot Gym is that each person is unique and what works for one person may not be the right formula for another individual. However, although the specifics may differ for each person, many may be surprised to learn that the fitness hierarchy does not actually start with physical activity- the cardio, the cross-training, and the weight-lifting. Whether your fitness goal is weight loss, muscle gain, sports performance improvement, or chronic disease symptom reduction, one common factor is absolutely essential to your success…NUTRITION.
The importance of nutrition in the fitness equation cannot be over-emphasized. It is simply impossible to out-train a poor diet. No amount of time spent pounding the treadmill or hoisting the weights will be able to catch up with excessive amounts of hydrogenated fats, processed sugars and carbohydrates, and additives in your diet (or equally as devastating severe calorie restriction or malnutrition that is caused by many popular “diet” plans). In the health and fitness world, this is sometimes referred to as the “80/10/10 Rule”. It is estimated that for the average person, what you put into your mouth accounts for about 80% of your body’s appearance. The remaining part of the equation is impacted by exercise (10%) and genetics (10%).
In our practice, we have seen rare exceptions to the 80/10/10 rule and the impact of nutrition on fitness goals is certainly irrefutable. The proper combination of foods and timing of meals ensures that the body has the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function optimally, increase the metabolism, and recover faster from workouts. It is important to note that “healthy nutrition” does not equal “diet”. Research shows that diets simply don’t work long-term. Furthermore, many diets are actually unhealthy because they don’t provide the body with varied nutrients and they usually contain highly processed ingredients preservatives, and chemical additives.
Our nutrition philosophy is fairly simple- fuel your body with real, whole foods that are as close as possible to their natural form. As inspired by the words of Michael Pollen (a nutrition journalist), if your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, don’t eat it! At each meal, combine protein, carbohydrates (only those that are properly prepared), and healthy fats. For the macronutrient composition, most people should obtain approximately 40% of their total caloric intake from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, and 30% from fats.