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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Diet and Exercise: Does It Have to Be All or Nothing?

Dec 27, 2013 09:08PM ● By Matt Gunelson

Matt Gunelson

Eat too much; go on a diet. Eat too much; go on a diet. Does this sound familiar? This type of fluctuation causes the body to suffer and can make it impossible to find a balance.

The same can be said for exercise. People often think, “I want to get fit, so I’ll start going to the gym every day and work out an hour.” But research shows that after two to four weeks most people give up.

Why does it have to be all or nothing?

It’s best to think of exercise and nutrition in a new way. Instead of asking, “What is the most I can do right now?” we can ask instead, “What is the least I have to do to see the changes I am seeking?” Remember, this is a journey, not a race.

Everyone wants to be in peak physical shape but it’s not realistic to get there in one day. When people say they want to lose weight, what they really mean is they want to lose body fat. Losing weight at a slow pace by including strength training ensures that the pounds lost are actual fat. Adding lean muscle increases metabolism, which helps keep the weight off.

Nutrition Tip

Supercharge your metabolism by adding 20 to 30 grams of protein with each meal four to six times day. Protein helps keep blood sugar levels normal, and most people simply don’t get enough protein. Adding protein in this way can help us make better food choices.

Fitness Tip

Interval training has proven to be much more efficient than straight cardio. An example of interval training is to walk one minute, jog one minute and repeat 10 times.

It’s important to choose a workout and nutrition plan that you enjoy. This allows you to build up momentum to keep going. The key is to find a balance.

Matt Gunelson is a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist with Gunelson Fitness and Nutrition, in Golden Valley. For more information, call 952-994-7125 or visit