You Can’t OutRun Your Fork!

Whenever I talk to people about how to get in shape, all they want to talk about is what to do in the gym to look better and feel better.  I tell them I only get 3 hours a week in the gym; they have the other 165 hours a week to either stay on track or fall off the wagon.  Regardless of what you do or who you want to look like, diet is far and away the most important thing you need to take care of before you have a chance in hell at getting in shape.  Two truths:

  • If you’re overweight, you need to make significant changes to your diet if you want to get in shape.
  • If you’re skinny and want to bulk up, you need to make significant changes to your diet.

When you break down weight loss into it’s most basic elements, you need to burn more calories than you consume.  Sounds simple right?  Have you ever really stopped to think about how easy it is to eat 100 calories and how hard it is to burn 100?  It’s a simple math equation, so you can’t really fudge the numbers like Enron accountant.  You either burn more than you eat, or eat more than you burn.  Here’s a little chart I made to drive that point home.  After factoring what you normally eat, if you eat/drink any of these other things extra on top of what you normally eat:

Picture 6

Now, take a look at that chart, and tell me what you see. Some of these numbers aren’t exact, but they’re pretty damn close; I kept the numbers even to keep things simple: Let’s say you eat two donuts for breakfast, hit up Domino’s for lunch, grab some fries and a drink from McDonald’s on the way home, and then eat a Taco Bell Fiesta Salad (hey it’s a salad! it’s good for me) before bed.  That’s a day full of calories.  Now, you do need to factor in your Basal Metabolic Rate (calculate here), which is how many calories you burn to just exist.  If you eat 3500 calories a day (thank you Bread Bowl), and you burn 2000 for your BMR, That means you practically need to run a half marathon to even things out.

If you eat normal meals, just go a little bit over budget (an extra 250 calories every day) and don’t burn it off, then you’re looking  at an extra 25 lbs of extra weight each year. (500 calories per day more = 1 extra pound of body fat a week.  500 calories less per day = 1 lb of fat loss).

Remember last week’s post about using common sense? See if you can justify to yourself having to run a HALF-EFFING-MARATHON because you ate an extra 1500 calories worth of crap today.  Drink a 6 pack of coke while working?  That’s fine, just start running til you’ve burned them off.

Calories in, calories out. That equation isn’t changing, so unless you have hours and hours to dedicate to fitness, why not make a change or two to your diet, sacrifice the 10 minutes of bliss you get from a McFlurry, and start losing weight immediately?  I can only dedicate an hour or less to fitness every day, which means I need to watch what I eat, and I’m fine with that.  You can’t outrun your fork, but you can certainly watch this 6 minute video of a guy beating the original version of Sega’s OutRun.  Going to be honest, I gave up after 15 seconds, but maybe you’re a big OutRun fan:


OutRun Speed Run Video

Yesterday’s Survey Results

I’d like to start with a big thank-you to the people that filled out the survey yesterday (here’s the link in case you missed it).  I got a lot of really good information and some insight on what you’re looking for.  An overwhelming majority of you weren’t interested in a Nerd Fitness message board, so I’m going to hold off on creating one for the time being.  I can see one happening eventually once the community is big enough to support it, but in the meantime I’m just going to concentrate on pumping out solid content on a daily basis.

Another big thing that came through in the surveys was that I didn’t have enough “nerdiness” on the site…and I agree. If you wanted generic fitness advice, you could get it anywhere on the web.  There’s no shortage of fitness sites (although most are garbage), and I want to create content that you can’t get anywhere else.  I actually came up with a great idea (I think it’s great anyways) this afternoon and spent a good 3 hours working on it.  Depending on the programming, hopefully I should be able to add it to the site in a few weeks.  For those of you looking for more nerd in Nerd Fitness, it’s coming.

Thanks again,

-Steve

PS Who caught the Harry Potter midnight show last night (there has to be at least one of you).  How was it?

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  • http://www.divergentshadows.com/ Evan

    I think your calculations are a bit off! The day you described totals up 3700 calories (based on the numbers in your chart), but even that doesn’t accurately reflect the exercise you need to do to burn it. First calculate and subtract your basal metabolic rate – for instance, for me it works out to ~1950 calories a day burned just staying alive. So if I ate like that my surplus would be 3700-1950 = 1750 calories a day. That’s 3-5 hours of working out (based on the numbers in your chart) in order to induce a calorie deficit (weight loss) for the day.

    Now even 3 hours a day is still unrealistic for most people, so it shows that diet can have a big impact – skip the dominos breadbowl for lunch and my surplus for the day would drop to 250 calories. Doesn’t seem like much to worry about, but if you run a small surplus like that every day it adds up to over 25lbs of weight gain a year! Now add in 1 hour of daily exercise and that surplus can become a deficit of 200+ calories a day, with a corresponding weight loss of 20lbs a year. So it’s a real balancing act, but getting the diet right does mean that you don’t need ridiculous amounts of exercise to get in/stay in shape.

  • http://www.divergentshadows.com Evan

    I think your calculations are a bit off! The day you described totals up 3700 calories (based on the numbers in your chart), but even that doesn’t accurately reflect the exercise you need to do to burn it. First calculate and subtract your basal metabolic rate – for instance, for me it works out to ~1950 calories a day burned just staying alive. So if I ate like that my surplus would be 3700-1950 = 1750 calories a day. That’s 3-5 hours of working out (based on the numbers in your chart) in order to induce a calorie deficit (weight loss) for the day.

    Now even 3 hours a day is still unrealistic for most people, so it shows that diet can have a big impact – skip the dominos breadbowl for lunch and my surplus for the day would drop to 250 calories. Doesn’t seem like much to worry about, but if you run a small surplus like that every day it adds up to over 25lbs of weight gain a year! Now add in 1 hour of daily exercise and that surplus can become a deficit of 200+ calories a day, with a corresponding weight loss of 20lbs a year. So it’s a real balancing act, but getting the diet right does mean that you don’t need ridiculous amounts of exercise to get in/stay in shape.

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve

    Shhhhh Evan you’re blowing my cover! I’m trying to scare people away from the bread bowl. Hahaha, you bring up a great point though, and one I should have made clear in the article.

    I’ll make the adjustment in the blog to reflect the difference when factoring your BMR. Still though, “an extra hour a day” is impossible for many people, and most don’t even get that exercise to begin with, let alone 3-4 hours of it!

    The balancing act for sure. The thing to take away from this is that unless you have all the time in the world to exercise, it’s much easier to just not eat the crap so you don’t have to worry about hours of exercise.

    Touche salesman,

    Steve

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com Steve

    Shhhhh Evan you’re blowing my cover! I’m trying to scare people away from the bread bowl. Hahaha, you bring up a great point though, and one I should have made clear in the article.

    I’ll make the adjustment in the blog to reflect the difference when factoring your BMR. Still though, “an extra hour a day” is impossible for many people, and most don’t even get that exercise to begin with, let alone 3-4 hours of it!

    The balancing act for sure. The thing to take away from this is that unless you have all the time in the world to exercise, it’s much easier to just not eat the crap so you don’t have to worry about hours of exercise.

    Touche salesman,

    Steve