Can't outrun a bad diet

A very common reason people go to the gym and hop on the treadmill for 45 minutes is so they can burn off the doughnut they had for breakfast, or to get ahead of the pizza they're planning to have for dinner.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. In terms of fat loss and body recomposition, exercise has very, very little to do with the equation. When you dive deeper into this subject you'll often hear things like, "Fat loss is 80 percent diet, 20 percent exercise." I'd be willing to go as high as 95 percent diet.

Performing evidence-based exercise once or twice a week creates a stimulus from which your body will adapt, making you bigger and strong, which has synergistic effects when it comes to fat loss, but if you're concentrating on burning off the 200 calorie eclair, it's much easier to just not eat the eclair. 

The 'real food' pyramid

Courtesy of Ted Naiman /
When it comes to metabolism, there are two ways our body can run. We can be a sugar burner — a glucose-based metabolism — or a fat burner. If you want to burn body fat, which one would you choose?

There are three macro nutrients — you might have heard of them: Protein, fats and carbs. I split these three into two groups: Building blocks and fuel.

Your body uses protein (building blocks) to grow new tissue and repair damaged tissue, everything from hair, to fingernails to bone mass — and you might have guessed it — muscle. Needless to say, protein is pretty important, and you can't live without it. It is especially important when you start using your body with a high-degree of effort (for example, evidence-based exercise).

When it comes to how we fuel our body, we have carbohydrates and fats. Carbs are our body's preferred fuel source — they burn fast and hot and right away, but unfortunately they make fat take a back seat. And by back seat I literally mean back seat. (Your butt). When carbs and fats are eaten together, the carbs are burned, and the fat is stored. Your body is then looking for more carbs to eat, so you get hungry.

Eating carbohydrates essentially shuts off fat oxidation (aka fat burning) making it difficult to lose weight. When you start to cut carbohydrates, (especially refined ones) your body starts to tap into its own fat stores. This leads to effortlessly switching between burning body fat and food for energy. 

This way of eating combined with evidence-based exercise is a very powerful combination, which can result in effortless weight loss in which the "dieter" is rarely hungry because of the satiating effects of protein, and the body's ability to finally access its own stored body fat.

Dr. Ted Naiman in Issaquah gives a great lecture on the mechanics and main drivers of obesity and the modern diseases that go hand in hand. Head on over to to learn more about why we should be eating species-appropriate diet.