I should start by explaining what the 70/30 rule is. This rule says that losing weight is 70% diet and 30% exercise, and has been preached for many years by fitness experts across the board.
Calories in must be less than calories out in order for weight loss to occur. It sounds good and simple and it makes a lot of sense. Why does it make sense? Because it is much easier to avoid calories by eating less than by working out to burn them off.
But picture this. You decide you want to drop 20 lbs so you decide to eat clean. You limit your fat and carb intake and focus instead on eating protein and vegetables. You limit your sugar intake too, and it works. You drop 5 pounds in 3-4 weeks and you are happy! However, over time you find it harder and harder to lose weight on this plan. Eventually your motivation wanes, and you start cheating a little here and there; you go out to a restaurant, or have takeout and consume a ton of food, and then you start gaining weight. Eventually you give up the diet altogether.
Does this sound familiar? So many of us have been down this road, and it can be very, very frustrating. I know, because I have tried it. In my time I have tried the low GI diet, the bodybuilding eat clean approach, the slow carb diet, Weight Watchers (WW). In all cases I have never achieved more than a 10 lb weight loss, which usually doesn't last. It is not because something is wrong with the way of eating in and of itself, but what I have found is that although controlling my eating is important, it is not enough to fully achieve my weight goals. Something more is needed.
It is very tough to eat in a certain way consistently day after day. I don't know about you, but I love food. I love trying foods from all over the world, and I can always find a way to fit just that little bit extra in. You know to the point where you feel uncomfortable, but not too uncomfortable. Actually, one of my eating goals is not to do that, except on special occasions! But I digress…
At the end of the day we are all human, and most of us cannot maintain such discipline forever. Also, for some of us simply eating a restricted calorie diet will not take us all the way to our health or weight goals. I daresay that this is true for most of us - something more is needed. And that something is exercise.
A good, consistent exercise plan that includes weight training and cardiovascular exercise such as jogging, walking, swimming, etc. has to be an important part of your regime to get into shape, lose weight or gain muscle without putting on fat.
Why is this the case? Building muscle should be the basis of any weight loss plan, for the simple reason that the more muscle you build, the higher your resting calorie consumption. More muscle requires more energy to drive it, which means even when you are sitting, you are burning more calories. Not to mention that a solid weight training program also helps you to ensure that your body looks good after you have lost all the weight you need/want to.
In addition, a good cardio regime just makes sense. Even if you are skinny it does not mean you are in good shape. I have a friend who in his mid twenties was very skinny. In fact he still is! Regardless he was winded and dying running to the bus stop. Now because of my wife encouraging him, and after consistently running 3 times a week for several months, he is running 14 kms.
So, you may be saying, should the old rule be the other way around? Should I focus 70% on exercise and 30% on diet? NO! With that approach you are sure to put on weight.
OK. But you may still be wondering, where should I focus??
Both! That's right! You need to focus 100% on your exercise and 100% on your diet. Your health is not something that you focus on for a short period to get the body you want, but then you go back to eating crap and not moving. That just means losing all the gains you worked so hard for. Instead, it is a lifelong commitment to eating healthy and moving your body.
Pick an eating regime that works for you. The reason I picked intermittent fasting is that I don't need to count calories. I just need to pick good whole foods that I enjoy and eat within my prescribed windows. It also means that if I do go out to a restaurant or order food, I can enjoy that meal knowing that it still won't push me above my caloric deficit.
But if the ketogenic diet works for you, then pick that. Or WW, or clean eating, or tracking calories & macros, or planning multiple small meals a day. Pick whatever works for you that you know you can stick to, and still enjoy food and life. If you don’t enjoy it, then you just will not maintain it.
With regards to exercise, I love lifting weights and I enjoy running. I love going to the gym too, but at this stage in my life I simply do not have the time to do that. That is why I put this website together, because I know many of you are in a similar position. I want to help you achieve your goals from the comfort of your own home. The ask is not too much. All you need is two 15 minute increments every day: 15 minutes of weights and 15 minutes of cardio. Right now I am taking full advantage of summer and going out for a run every weekday. However, you can do a simple HIIT routine at home, just 10-15 minutes and you are done. Commit to this daily, and see what happens! Go to the programs section, sign up and join a fitness challenge.
And whatever you do, remember it is not 70/30 but it is about giving 100% in both diet and exercise!