Bob Harper, a celebrity trainer starring on NBC’s reality weight loss television show, The Biggest Loser, joins a panel discussion to talk about his personal thoughts on diet, exercise, and the importance of each in regards to weight loss. With over twenty years’ experience, Bob says he now realizes that diet always trumps exercise and everything else when it comes to shedding the pounds.
“I used to think a long time ago that you can beat everything you eat out of you and it’s just absolutely not the case.” – Bob Harper
For fifteen seasons on The Biggest Loser, Bob has successfully helped hundreds of obese and morbidly obese individuals reach a healthy weight, although, is just being at a “healthy weight” enough? Shouldn’t one be fit, instead of just being at a healthy weight? Bob says ‘yes’, however, the contestants that come on The Biggest Loser are focused on simply losing as much weight as possible. After all, the name of the show is “The Biggest Loser” and the winner is determined by who can lose the most relative weight.
As a personal trainer myself, and someone who has been involved in fitness, eating properly, and exercising regularly for the past fifteen years, I have to fully agree with Bob Harper’s stance on weight loss: When it comes strictly to weight loss, diet is everything. You can spend hours in the gym burning calories, but with all the rich dense foods readily available to us, you can easily erase all your efforts at the gym in just a couple bites!
In fact, for someone who is strictly interested in losing weight, and not building muscle or becoming “fit”, you would likely drop pounds by avoiding the weights and focusing strictly on caloric intake. Muscle is much denser than fat, actually weighing five-times more than it, which means, if you’re building muscle through strength training (even when burning fat) your weight will most likely not decrease as quickly than if you were just strictly dieting.
With weight loss, it’s as simple as calories in, and calories out. If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume, period. This doesn’t mean that exercise isn’t important. I would never suggest to someone to not exercise no matter what their fitness goals are. I preach to my clients every day to focus not so much the number on the scale, but rather on body fat percentage. The quickest way to lower your overall body fat percentage, thus changing your body composition, is through a combination of cardiovascular training, resistance weight training, and proper dieting.
Ultimately, most people decide to lose weight because they dislike the way they look and feel. If you want to look good with your shirt off while feeling the same on the inside, you have to get your body fat percentage as low as possible. To do that, you have to exercise regularly, which includes strength training, and of course, eat properly. Stop worrying so much about “losing weight”, and start focusing on living an active, healthy lifestyle. If you do that, your body will reflect it.
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