I’m sure you all have that friend that has been trying to get you to eat the way they do for some time now. They’re either vegan or Paleo and will swear by it to the ends of the Earth. The conversations about it generally come up when you’re doing one of two things: you all are either out eating somewhere OR you’re working out together and you’re complaining about why you just haven’t seen the results you want. This is where your friend chimes in with what has become the rallying cry for performance diets everywhere, “You can’t outwork a bad diet.” This is where you snap back at them and tell them that it’s not a crime to enjoy pizza and beer. It absolutely isn’t. However, in the words of CrossFit Founder and CEO, Greg Glassman, “But if you actually think you’re going to get anywhere with this shit diet, I’m gonna tell you, ‘You’re high on crack,’ it ain’t gonna happen.”
There are some genetic lottery winners and workoutaholics who will absolutely be able to indulge whenever they want. They, however, will only be able to outwork it in terms of aesthetics. The rest of us will always have to watch what we eat, and that is just a fact. Our genetics are going to determine that for most of us; no matter how much we workout we still won’t see the results we want if we’re constantly eating junk food. Now, why is that? Well, if you remember every time you eat something your body releases insulin into your bloodstream in order to lower your blood’s sugar content because if you have too much sugar in your blood it is toxic.
The problem with junk food is that it causes your insulin levels to rise REALLY high and REALLY fast. Whole foods like things that were going to be animals (protein) or vegetables (carbs) have a buffer that prevents that really high and fast problem. Protein takes a while to digest and it just doesn’t cause the same kind of insulin release as any carbohydrate does. Vegetables and some fruits have this wonderful thing called fiber in them. This slows down the digestion rate and provides a buffer for that insulin spike. Junk food like pizza, doughnuts, beer, chocolate bars, soda; they have NO buffer whatsoever. They send that signal to your brain fast and hard that you have WAY too much sugar in your blood. The pancreas receives that signal and goes to work. This phenomena is what can lead to some serious health problems if you’re constantly eating junk food and not working out at all. If you are working out, then you’re buying yourself some time in regards to those really serious health problems.
However, let’s just focus on the results aspect of it all. The reality is most of us can maybe spend an hour to maybe two hours a day working out. So, let’s say you work out 2 hours a day from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Now, this alone is a very vague start, but I don’t know the kind of workout you’re doing, so I have to assume you’re doing the traditional get on a treadmill or something for 30 minutes, followed by some moderate weight training. I know you’re thinking that you’re going hard but I hate to break it to you, you’re probably not. A 30 minute moderate cardio session is really doing little to nothing to deplete all your glycogen storage. Yes, your body is getting to it’s “fat burning stage” but the moment you hop off that treadmill, it stops.
There’s also really no telling just how MUCH of your fat burning stage you’ve gotten into. I’m going to guess, minimal. Then you hit the weights for an hour and a half but it’s mostly isolation exercises, and you generally rest in between each set for 3-5 minutes. This is also doing little to nothing to really dig into the fat burning you want. So, 2 hours of moderate work is supposed to beat probably 3-5 instances in the day in which you shoot your insulin up like a bottle rocket on New Year’s Eve? I don’t think so. I’m not saying you have to change up your workout. If you’re doing even a little something, it’s definitely better than nothing at all, but if you’re constantly eating junk food and that’s generally what your workout looks like, then something definitely needs to change.
If you want to know more about what needs to change and how, don’t hesitate to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.