You’ve probably been told at one point that “you can’t outrun your fork” or that fat loss is “80% nutrition and 20% exercise”. But how come we all know someone who’s ridiculously lean and eats mostly junk? The message that you need to focus on nutrition in order to lose weight is well intentioned but it is not 100% true. It is actually possible to consume high calorie junk foods and stay lean at the same time. This doesn’t mean it is easy to do or particularly good for you but it can definitely be done. Anyone who has seen Dwayne Johnson’s epic cheat meals will know this to be the case. Read below to learn about the law of thermodynamics, the twinkie diet study and why those who train hard can get away with consuming a bit of junk. The point of this article is not to encourage junk food consumption, but to dispel rumours that you can’t achieve fat loss without giving up certain foods. It is possible (though not easy) to work off calorie dense foods with a sufficiently high exercise output.
Law Of Thermodynamics
Scientists no longer dispute the fact that body weight is governed by the principle of calories in calories out. If you burn more energy than you take in, you will see a reduction in body fat. Just like how you would see less money in your bank account if you stopped generating income. Although there are many factors that affect body weight, calorie intake is the main determinant of fat loss or gain. This is known as the law of thermodynamics. Basically if you want to lose weight, you will need to ensure that the number of calories you are consuming does not exceed the number of calories you burn through movement. This principle is very simple however implementing it is not easy. It takes much longer to burn 2000 calories than it does to eat 2000 calories. This is why you shouldn’t use the fact that you went for a walk to justify getting McDonald’s for dinner. However now you know why famous Youtubers can get away with 10,000 calorie cheat meals. They do it by having very high levels of activity and by eating very low calorie meals on other days of the week. The law of thermodynamics tells us that it is not the quality of the food that determines fat loss but the quantity. So if you like eating lots of food but don’t want the pounds to pile on, you better make sure you live an active lifestyle.
The Twinkie Diet
The calories in calories out principle was proven by Mark Haub’s twinkie diet study in 2010. Haub ate 1800 calories worth of twinkies, doritos and sugary cereals for every meal and lost a total of 12kgs. He also improved his cholesterol despite the high amounts of sugar and fat he was taking in. This was possible because his body was expending more energy than he was taken in. The point of this study was not to encourage consumption of junk food but rather to highlight the importance of a calorie deficit. Had Mark stuck with this diet for a long period of time, he likely would have experienced a few health issues and felt absolutely awful. But his efforts cleared up a lot of misinformation regarding weight loss diets. If you want to lose a bit of fat, you don’t need to cut out specific foods. Furthermore you don’t need to reduce your calories to extremely low levels either. They just need to be slightly less than the number of calories you burn in a day. Regardless of whether you increase energy expenditure, reduce food intake or do both, a calorie deficit will result in weight loss.
Why Do People Say “You Can’t Outrun Your Fork?”
If you google “can you outtrain a bad diet” you will find a plethora of articles telling you that you can’t. But this defies the law of thermodynamics. The reason there are so many articles emphasising the importance of good nutrition is because it really is good advice. We should all strive to have the most nutritious diet possible in our given circumstances. The benefits of eating fibrous vegetables and good sources of protein are numerous. They give you nutrients, make you feel good, help your bowels stay regular and enable the body to function as it should. However this well-intentioned advice might be placing too much emphasis on food and ignores the fact that those who train hard can get away with eating foods like twinkies and pizza. The notion that fat loss is 80% nutrition might be discouraging for some. A lot of people out there would rather continue to eat processed snacks and compensate for the extra calories by walking more throughout the day and lifting heavy weights. Provided you aren’t relying only on junk food as your only source of nutrition and not punishing yourself with exercise, this is totally fine. Rewarding yourself with a slice of cake after a half marathon won’t cause weight gain if you aren’t in a calorie surplus. As long as you retain a healthy mindset towards training and nutrition, you don’t need to eliminate junk foods in fear of gaining weight. If Floyd Mayweather can eat twizzlers after a hard training session, then you can enjoy a few post-workout lollies too. As long as your calorie intake matches your energy expenditure, those scales won’t budge.
So there you go. It is possible to consume a vast number of calories and not put on weight but this doesn’t mean you should. The point of this article is to provide the facts. If you want to consume 3000 calories of cake every day and not gain weight, then you will have to do a significant amount of exercise and expect to feel horrible inside. However if you enjoy eating nutrient void treats but also have weight loss goals, you don’t have to give them up forever. Use your favourite junk foods as motivation to train hard, go for more walks and be as active as possible. It is possible to achieve fat loss goals and eat the junk foods you love as long as you remain in a calorie deficit. Although it is much easier to lose weight by eating only nutrient dense foods, you don’t have to let the idea of a boring diet delay your body transformation. Train hard, be active and eat junk in appropriate quantities. Life is about achieving your goals and enjoying the process at the same time.