What’s More Important: Nutrition or Exercise?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten this question over the years – far too many to remember. Fortunately, there’s an easy answer for everyone – no matter what your goals are.

So, which is it: high quality, personalized nutrition or an optimized, challenging exercise routine? And while we’re at it, how about sleep, stress management, hydration, outdoor play and recreation, and heck… red wine, or dark chocolate just in case we want to be in vogue? Which of these is the most important – the biggest bang for your buck investment for your health, fitness, etc.?

Your personal trainer will tell you it’s the exercise that matters, but any nutritionist will tell you it’s the food. These conflicting views aren’t much help, of course. So, maybe it would be best to seek out advice from a real expert. However, those “lifestyle coaches” will probably just offer vague, unhelpful advice like “cut back on the sweets” and “take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away… yadda yadda yadda.” And we all know how helpful that is, right? So, let’s turn to a medical doctor – a true professional – who will probably… GASP… offer medical advice and medical treatments, usually in the form of drugs or surgery. It’s almost like that’s what they specialize in or something! Of course, if you go down that route, it will be quite expensive, and then there’s the side effects. There are ALWAYS side effects. I hope you have a good insurance policy with low premiums!

So, you see our predicament now. It can be a bit difficult to get some reliable information that is not only helpful, but actually makes sense, too. But this really isn’t as complicated as everybody in our cutting-edge, 21st-century culture has made it out to be.

So, here’s a clue: all those categories listed earlier (exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc.) – they are ALL important. And if you’re asking this question because you ONLY want to work on ONE thing, then you’re missing the point. If you want to get healthier, fitter, stronger, ____________ (fill in the blank), etc. – if you want to improve in some way, shape, or form physically – then you will need to optimize your approach in ALL of these areas (ok, maybe not the booze or chocolate). Anyone who tells you otherwise is most likely lying and/or trying to lay claim to your money (not as uncommon as you might think). The bottom line is that if one area is lacking, then your results will be limited in some way, shape, or form. If you’re lacking in a few areas, then you can forget it. Think about that for a second.

So, let me tell you something true. It’s going to take everything you got – your ALL. And it’s going to take your ALL, every single day until you get to WHAT you want. And if you want to KEEP it once you have it, it’s going to take the rest of your life. Try swallowing that one next time you’re enjoying an evening with some red wine and dark chocolate.

So, stop looking for the magic bullet, the quick fix, the easy button, a pill, a supplement, or a special gadget and start taking responsibility for your choices. This is not just the BEST way to achieve your goals, it’s the ONLY way to achieve them and keep them for the rest of your life.

And if you’re still wondering which one is more important for YOU, then I’d suggest that you start working on either a) the one that is more likely to help you achieve your specific goals, or b) the one that will challenge you the most. Lucky for you, oftentimes the thing that will be the hardest for you will also make the biggest difference. So, it’s usually not a bad idea to just eat the biggest frog first, if you know what I mean. Open WIDE!

So, there you have it. You could hire a whole entourage of personal trainers, nutritionists, doctors, and “lifestyle coaches” to tell you the same thing, but you don’t need to do that. You already know the truth, and not just because I told you now. You’ve always known. So, do something about it. And if you want something bad enough, you won’t start tomorrow, you’ll start today. It’s the truth.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting. ~Dr. Seuss

You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it. ~Charles Buxton

It’s never too late to be who you might have been. ~George Eliot

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CST Coach, CST-KS
Health-First Fitness Coach

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One Response

  1. I do nutrition and exercise and frankly while both are important,IMHO nutrition is more important than excercise, to me that’s a no brainer because the body must have nutrients in order to function properly, as you know there are billions of cells in the human body and they all need nourishment and if the body is properly nourished, then the mind is nourished and gives one the urge and energy to want to excercise or move. Whereas without proper nourishment, one does not have the energy nor the inclination in most cases to excercise because it makes them too tired because thier bodies just cannot do it. Even if a person does not excerise, but is properly nourished, he or she will still feel good, perhaps not as good as they would if they exercised but nevertheless they can feel and be quite healthy as long as they move around daily which most people do anyway, but even more so If they are properly nourished. I am 74yrso and feel wonderful even when I don’t excercise and trust me I know what it is to really feel good and well balanced with a sense of well being.

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