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Thread: The primacy of diet over fitness - a question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    The primacy of diet over fitness - a question

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    A question about the PB belief that diet is responsible for 80% of your results. I believe this to be true, but I can't help but notice an anomoly which I haven't been able to wrap my brain around: Why can young, active people eat whatever they want and still look fit?

    In my profession I train a lot of marine and army guys. Some of them, the ones under 25 especially, have great builds and strength and yet they pack away cheeseburgers, pizza, tacos and beer by the truckload! They are toxifying themselves, without a doubt. But doesn't the fact that they still can maintain great bodies suggest that fitness and activity have greater primacy than diet? Curious about y'all's opinion on this. Thanks!

  2. #2
    It's because young people haven't been eating junk for as long as, say, a 40 year old. Unless they are REALLY overdoing it, of course.
    Eating junk takes time, and eating healthy takes time. It may take a little longer considering they are marines and most likely in heavy training, but you cannot out train a terrible diet. Not forever, anyways.
    We all start with a body that wants to be healthy. Just give em a couple more years.

  3. #3
    I think it has something to do with human growth hormone. While your body is producing hgh, it really counteracts the bad effects of excess insulin. And I am pulling this from memory, not sure of the source, and not sure if my recollection is correct. I will do some digging to see if I can find the complete info.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Well, not everybody struggles with their weight -- so we can't just go by looks. There are plenty of people who eat terrible diets but don't eat more than they can burn off through their activity levels.

    Sounds like in your profession, you're seeing a self-selection bias at work: people joining the military don't tend to have an existing history of trouble with their weight and/or they're people who maintain very high activity levels compared to average, which makes it easier to give the appearance of "getting away with it" health-wise.

    At least some of these guys will fall into the same old stereotype later of gaining weight in their middle age -- particularly if they're in a habit of just eating as much as they want.

    And yeah, as Dan says, it takes time to really build up a good blubber layer, like I did. Time and reduced activity compared to the amount you're eating that feels "normal" based on an earlier, higher activity level....
    Last edited by Jenny; 10-04-2010 at 09:52 AM.

  5. #5
    Just a quick google search - found this:

    in part:

    "Carbohydrate metabolism: Growth hormone is one of a battery of hormones that serves to maintain blood glucose within a normal range. Growth hormone is often said to have anti-insulin activity, because it supresses the abilities of insulin to stimulate uptake of glucose..."

    As we age and stop producing hgh, the effects of excess insulin become more apparent in our bodies.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    West Virginia
    Maybe it is taking a toll on them, just not in a way that can be seen on the outside. Then when they are in the mid to late 30's they are looking for a way to look and feel like they did back then. Then the find the primal blueprint and realize it was all those choices they made back when they thought they could get away with it that put them where they are today. It creeps up on you slowly. If I only knew then what I know now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    1) the unkown is, how much healthier and stronger would those guys be if they WERE eating healthy?
    2) Many of the effects of eating crap take years to show much effect and also a long time to reverse.
    3) isn't overweight and fitness a growing problem in the army? I've heard that it's becoming a problem in Iraq with the base food.

    I think what we overlook is the interaction between diet and exercise, we tend to think of them as separate. But diet dramatically influences 1) how much exercise you can do 2) how much exercise you feel like doing and 3) how much you benefit from doing exercise.

    One example, my dad is 69 and in the midst of a total remodel of his new house - hanging sheetrock, painting, countertops, the whole works. He went primal about 6 weeks ago and without changing his daily activity at all (lots and lots of exercise every day) lost 2 inches from his waist and gained a bunch of upper body muscle.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    People have different genetic predispositions. My impression is that primal, paleo, or low-carb diets work very well for people like me with a family history of diabetes, and an obvious predisposition to grain/gluten or fructose sensitivity--and nothing else works this well. I would try to eat the same way as my (thin) carboholic friend in high school, and I was always starving, dizzy, and anxious not even a half hour later. I have no idea how she can live like that. I guess that people who only start putting on weight later in life aren't as genetically predisposed to being sensitive to grains or sugar. Perhaps this is where HGH comes in.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    They can eat that way because they are working out - they are probably regular gym rats. In their case, they are working out so hard, the percentage is probably inverted - it is 80% what they do, 20% what they eat. As a previous poster said, imaging how they would look if they ate healthier and trained smarter?

    With primal eating, you can maintain a good body composition with some muscle mass with practically no exercise. Diet is what makes you healthy, exercise is just the cherry on top.
    - If it was cute and cuddly at some point, eat it. Ignore everything else. -

    - Food is first, and foremost, nothing more than fuel. -

    - The body is animal. The mind, however, is not. -

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    In the frozen North
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    Considering there are no long term studies showing longevity from paleo type diets I'm going to presume you mean "results" to be weight loss. Personally I believe it's about energy balance. Young lean athletic people know instinctively when that balance is out of wack and simple adjust how much they eat +/-. (I was one of those people way back when) Their hormonal balance is humming along, working perfectly....basically they know when to stop eating. Over consume enough food, with a good percentage of those calories from sugary carbs for enough time and our hormones will start to fail us....then is when nutrition and diet become important (and a very important money maker for the people that promote various diets) because we're fat and want to lose weight. Eating primally is more satiating which by default lowers our calorie consumption, therefore we stop gaining and generally lose weight....and there's no exercise required (that fact is a real selling feature for people that don't like exercise) because it's the calories deficit that allows for the weight loss.....If you take a young man in army training and believe they have some miraculous metabolism....they don't, they just know how much to eat over the course of a day, week or month by listening to their body and making those adjustments...and what may appear to be a binge meal might be totally different the next day or at other times........but it all balances itself out. Not so lucky for the majority it seems. imo
    Whether you think you can..... or you think you can't..... your 100 % correct.

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