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Exercise or diet? Which is better for fat loss

Exercise or Diet? Which is Better for Fat Loss?

Well, the one you will actually adhere to consistently will always win this battle!
However, if we take a look at the science, exercise has some benefits.
Exercise is better at maintaining lean mass and this is significant because we don’t necessarily want the scale to go down, we want fat mass specifically to decrease. You may lose some lean mass, however, exercise preserves lean mass more than diet alone. Secondly, exercise preserves metabolic rate to a greater extent than diet alone; this is due to the fact that lean mass is preserved. Lean mass is directly correlated to your basal metabolic rate. The amount of muscle you currently have accounts for around 60% of your total daily energy requirements. Lastly, exercise helps to keep the fat off. This is mostly due to the fact that you lost the fat mass and weight due to exercise habits and it is easier to sustain those habits versus sustaining a caloric deficit. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10896648/)

Now, let’s take a look at diet.

Diet will allow you to save time. Cutting calories daily is way more time efficient compared to exercising, if you equate calories. Furthermore, diet can teach you about portion sizes and macros. Learning this information can help you know how much a certain food looks like and what the macronutrient information for that food is. Learning this can teach you how much energy (calories) your body needs for maintenance and what your deficit versus surplus is. You can also learn more about macros and how different ratios affect your body composition.

Please note that if you decrease your caloric intake (with or without additional exercise), your macro intake, more specifically protein intake, is crucial for preserving as much lean mass as possible. Studies show that in an energy deficit state, your body’s requirements for protein are elevated. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26817506/)

So, now what? Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Are you strength training?
  • Are you doing cardio?
  • What’s your daily step count?
  • Are you tracking protein?
  • What’s your caloric intake?
  • How much time do you have each day?
  • How much fat do you wish to lose?

I recommend creating a plan that includes both exercise AND nutrition that you will ADHERE to and be CONSISTENT with!

If you have any questions, let us know!

Be sure to check out Diane’s guide to calculate your macros here:


Furthermore, if you would like to schedule a call with Diane to create a customized plan that incorporates nutrition and exercise designed around your goals, you can email her at diane@nourishyourmovement.com