15 + 1 + 8 = You Do the Math

By , SparkPeople Blogger
How hard do you work out?  Are you one of those people who gives it all you’ve got, or ''leaves it all on the field,'' as the saying goes? I know there are times when I’m like that. I meet with my trainer, get a new workout plan and go set the plan into action. I typically know how many times a week I’m going to lift weights, when my races are scheduled for the next month, when I need to take a day off, etc. I love to research new exercises, try new classes, and make fitness a routine and consistent part of my life. I’m very aware of whether or not I’m meeting my fitness minutes goal for the month on SparkPeople. That’s all good, right?

I know many times we think that, but I saw something on the internet recently that put things into a better perspective for me. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read it now, but the author said that we work out 60 minutes a day (1 hour) and then have to make food decisions for 15 hours, leaving 8 hours for sleeping. If you’re not making good food choices for many of those hours, how can you expect that 1 hour to compensate and move you in the right direction?

Think about it in minutes…60 versus 900. I know I’ve been caught saying, ''I’m going to eat this because later, I’m doing that'. My best friend stopped me in my tracks recently by telling me she didn’t want to hear my excuse or justification for the decadent brownie I was getting ready to eat – just eat it and move on. I looked at her like she was my frenemy (friend/enemy). Okay, just joking, but she was right.  It would probably take more than 60 minutes to burn that hunk of love – I mean chocolate – off my body. I’m not saying you can’t have treats because trust me, I did eat that brownie and enjoyed every single bite.  Should I do that often? No!  The next morning I got up and ran my race and got right back on track.

The moral of this story is you should spend even more time prepping for those 900 minutes a day than you do for those 60 minutes a day in order to reach your goals.  How do you do that?  I do it by planning out my meals. I research and read a lot since I’m a foodie and love to do that. I keep a list of healthy recipes that we’ve tried and liked. I started a board on Pinterest to group together recipes that I’m trying. I tend to keep a stock of supplies in the pantry and freezer that can be used in a large number of healthy recipes. I frequent the store at least twice a week for fresh produce.  I keep my Tupperware organized and have an extra set on hand.  All of these things make prepping and taking food easier for my family. 

When it comes to my meals, I tend to go with the flow.  I’ve tracked my food pretty consistently for almost three years now, and I can calculate in my head how many calories I’m eating if I stay out of restaurants.  Periodically, I need to check myself and carefully plan out my meals just to remind myself that food seriously matters.  My body will always reflect the quantity and quality of what I put into my mouth, no matter how much I work out.
Should you use this blog as justification to only work on the 900 minutes of meal planning and ignore those miniscule 60 minutes of fitness? No way!  Your body needs both and I’m a firm believer in the ''move it or lose it'' phrase. I currently have over 41,000 fitness minutes logged on my SparkPeople account since the beginning of my journey. Obviously, I believe that you need to work out. I think the best combination for a successful healthy journey is to find a good balance between the two, and I realize that doing one without the other will cheat me out of the results that I deserve.

The longer I find myself on this journey, the more I feel like our bodies are like finely-tuned race cars.  If you don’t take care of that car, it will stop running.  If you don’t tune the engine, oil the parts, change the tires, and put in good quality fuel, you won't have a good race.  Our bodies need good, quality food and plenty of water.  We need to move, stretch, and exercise to strengthen our bones, build muscle, and make all the parts work together well.  When we don’t do all of those things, we struggle in our race.

Do you feel like you have a healthy balance between planning for workouts and for meals?  Do you favor one over the other?  Which one do you need to work on this week?