When working in the fitness industry, we often see and hear a lot about trending diets.  There is always something new, “that works,” and that people really get into.  And what we usually find is that these magic diets, promising pills and fasting plans, indeed, do not work.  At least not long term.  Sure, you may see some results but more often than not, these are not diets that can be sustained over a long period of time.  These are not healthy eating habits that can be learned and practiced for a lifetime.  We tend to overcomplicate nutrition.  So let’s take a few minutes and break it down into a very simple and easy explanation. 

I had the opportunity to sit down with Greg Ellers, General Manager of Fit Body Boot Camp in Prescott, Arizona.  Greg has been involved in the fitness industry in some shape or form for over fifteen years.  He is passionate about health and wellness and you can absolutely see him light up when we spoke on the subject. 

One of the first things I asked Greg was, “if someone is trying to get healthy and lose body fat, what is the ratio of exercise to diet that would be appropriate for a weight loss goal?” 

Greg replied, “easily 80% diet and 20% exercise.  You can’t out train a bad diet.”  So many people get a gym membership and start a workout routine.  Which is awesome!  But working out alone, without a strong focus on nutrition, will provide very little progress. 

“Greg, where do you see people go wrong when it comes to their nutrition plan?” 

“Without a doubt, people underestimate their calorie intake.”  What Greg recommends is that people track their calorie intake for 3 to 7 days.  Be diligent in documenting every calorie consumed.  For someone to begin to build a fitness and nutrition plan, you need to know where you’re starting from.  A solid baseline.   

Greg states, “You can’t figure out where you are going if you don’t know where you are.” 

Greg describes a process that is simple and easy to apply. 

First and foremost, like we discussed, track your calories.  This is a key factor at the beginning of any nutrition plan/change.  Secondly, you’ll need to figure out how many calories you need in a day.  This will be different as each person has their own unique goals.  If weight loss is the goal, you will need to be in a calorie deficit.    

“It’s actually very simple,” states Greg.  “Bottom line is, it’s calories in and calories out.”  Let’s look at it this way, “Think of a banking system.  Your checking account holds the amount of calories you use in a day.  Your savings account is where your body fat is stored.  When you are in a calorie deficit, you will use up what is in your “checking account.”  Your body will then resort to your “savings account” and begin burning fat storage.”  Over time, weight loss is inevitable.   

One thing Greg spoke about really resonated with me.  So many diets, and many other things in life for that matter, require huge change, overnight.  This is oftentimes what leads people to being unsuccessful in their quest for change.  What Greg recommends is “making small adjustments over time.  Too much change, too quickly, is not sustainable.  We set people up for failure before they even begin.  Small alterations over time leads to lasting results.”  Protein intake is also a huge factor when it comes to nutrition and weight loss.  If you are looking to lose fat and gain strength, your protein intake is a crucial part of your diet.  It is generally recommended that a person intake “0.8 grams to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight, each day.  Some foods rich in protein are chicken, white fish, and turkey.  Protein powders can be beneficial as long as you obtain a high quality whey and casein powder.  If you are a vegetarian, find a quality pea protein,” says Greg.  Foods and shakes rich in protein also have the effect of making you feel full, longer.  Thus cutting out excess eating and snacking. 

“If your goal is to lose body fat, gain strength and get into excellent shape, I’d advise a solid, protein rich diet and a great training program that incorporates cardiovascular and resistance training.  These things along with discipline and commitment will lead you on a successful journey towards health and wellness,” says Greg. 

And I couldn’t agree more!  Humans, as a whole, tend to overcomplicate things.  And we don’t have to.  So in this case, set your goal, create your plan and enjoy the ride!  This journey is one you don’t want to miss!