When you think about your own wellness, do you measure your efforts in hours spent at the gym and the amount of food you eat? If you do, you're not alone. This is how the health and wellness industry has conditioned us to think. But is there a better way?
According to new research from Skidmore College—yes there is. They had people do the same amount of exercise and eat the same number of calories for 12 weeks and found that the quality of the food and exercise was what mattered the most.
Are protein and antioxidants part of your fitness regime?
The researchers used a population of 30 women and 20 men (ages 30 to 65) who were already in good shape. They exercised a minimum of four days per week and at least 45 minutes per session. The scientists then divided the men and women randomly into groups. Both groups ate the same number of calories and completed an identical exercise regimen that incorporated resistance exercise, interval sprint exercise, stretching and endurance exercise.
The diet quality of the two groups were different. One group consumed commonly recommended protein and sport nutrition products and the second group consumed slightly more protein (from whey protein or whole food sources) and took antioxidant supplements. After 12 weeks both groups improved, but the protein/antioxidant group outperformed the other group in fitness measures like core strength, muscular endurance, reduced blood vessel stiffness, and lower back flexibility.
Counting calories is a thing of the past.
The take-home message? We could all benefit from taking a moment to think about our current approach to well-being. More and more research is pointing to the importance of when and what we eat and how we exercise rather than calories in, calories out. In fact, these factors could be what is making or breaking your diet. And who has time their wheels?
This study points to a future where we see positive results from making less time-consuming (but more targeted) lifestyle changes. And that sounds good to us!