I heard a story today from someone who once worked at a gas station in South Carolina. At this gas station, the owner only used one type of gasoline: the cheapest. He put this unleaded fuel into all pumps and labeled them unleaded, regular and premium, and for an entire summer, he maximized on people’s ignorance and assumption that the most expensive always means the best quality.
Fitness progress and weight loss can parallel this parable: it’s not necessarily how hard you work that gets you to where you want to be, it’s how smart you do it that matters. A friend of mine right now is slaving away at his efforts for weight loss, pushing himself past his limits in his workouts and constantly trying to sweat as much as he possibly can. Unfortunately, his hard efforts are not paying off in the dividends that it should, mainly because he’s trying “hard” at dieting rather than being “smart” about his nutrition. He is trying to choose “healthy” options, but is neglecting to count calories, fat and carbs and inadvertently finds himself eating Nutella on his waffles for breakfast and three servings of rice for dinner. It is not until he decides to be smart about the nutritional content of his food choices that he will actually see the fat melt away from his body; in doing so, he will actually start seeing even more results from his workouts with less effort invested. It’s a win-win when you are smart about what you do.
If you want to change your body, decide that you want to work smarter and not harder. Nutrition dictates over 80% of actual body changes; it doesn’t matter if you do 5,000 sit-ups every day, you will never tighten and flaten your stomach until you change your nutrition.