Dear JJ: I feel like my gym is capitalizing on the New Year's resolution weight loss thing, but isn't weight loss something like 80 percent diet (or is that just an urban legend)? If eating healthily becomes that tipping point, why do gyms make it sound like you just need to exercise to lose weight?
If you want to lose weight, stop focusing on exercise.
You read that correctly. I am not saying don't exercise. I adamantly advocate regular workouts. Trust me, no one is more pro-exercise than I am.
But for weight loss, you cannot out-exercise your way out of a crappy diet. The end. You can stop reading now (or please continue).
An editorial earlier this year enforced that idea, skillfully arguing over-emphasizing exercise while neglecting healthy eating allows manufacturers to create "'health halo legitimisation of nutritionally deficient products."
You know the drill: Burn off 500 calories on the elliptical machine and you can guilt-free indulge in that fat-free fro-yo joint down the street. Or do that hot instructor's spin class, blast a certain number of calories, and have a few innocuous skinny margaritas with chips and salsa with your girlfriends at that new Tex-Mex joint.
That's what gyms want you to believe, but it just isn't true.
"Exercise boosts your metabolism and reduces inflammation, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and even dementia," writes Dr. Mark Hyman. "But if you're eating a bad diet, exercise is not enough ... Bottom line: For optimal health, you need to exercise, but you can't exercise your way out of a bad diet!"
I can think of a zillion reasons to exercise. Okay, maybe not a zillion, but too many to list. But for losing weight, exercise becomes pretty darn lousy.
On the other hand, incorporate burst training and weight resistance, eat a low-sugar impact diet that includes lean protein, healthy fats, lots of leafy greens, and slow low carbs like quinoa, address food intolerances, and you've got a powerful one-two-three punch for fast, lasting fat loss.
"Let us bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity," researchers in the above editorial concluded. "You cannot outrun a bad diet." Amen.
Here's something gyms and fitness gurus would maybe prefer you didn't hear: Tackle your eating first, control things like optimal sleep and stress control, and then develop an exercise program. Focus on one thing at a time.
That doesn't mean you can't incorporate, say, a low-sugar impact diet or address food intolerances and do some burst training on the side. I just want you to master your diet first.
When you finally address exercise, don't assume you've got to spend hours at the gym or classes. Studies show you can get an effective, efficient workout with burst training in just minutes a day.
My favorite exercise plan includes burst training and weight resistance. You can do both in eight -- yes, eight -- minutes with my Fast Blasts. Grab a FREE one here.
Even then, don't think you can do a killer workout, nose-dive into an extra-large fro-yo, and watch your fat melt away. Not. Going. To. Happen.
If your 2016 resolution includes a plan to shape up your eating, tell us below. Let's hold each other accountable and make this our most fabulous year ever! And keep those great questions coming at AskJJ@jjvirgin.com.
Happy New Year!