Is It More Important to Diet or Exercise?

Diet-Or-ExerciseHere’s a question that I often get asked: “I want to have a healthier lifestyle, but I don’t have time to both eat better and exercise - so which should I focus on for best results?”

I understand that schedules are tight. But exercising without nutrition - or vice versa - is like trying to drive your car with the emergency brake on. While you may experience results through diet or exercise alone, it’s the combination of both that will really put you life - and your body - into high gear.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

In a new study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers from the Standford University School of Medicine found that focusing on a proper diet and exercise simultaneously yields better results than changing either separately.

For the study, researchers divided 200 inactive participants, ages 45 and up, into four groups that each received phone coaching. Group one received coaching on both nutrition and exercise simultaneously. Group two received only dietary advice for the first few months - and then received additional coaching for exercise. Group three received only exercise coaching initially - and then dietary advice a few months into the study. Group four only received stress management coaching. The study lasted one year.

Even despite busy schedules, those participants who received coaching for both diet and exercise were more likely to meet national guidelines for exercise and nutrition than any other group.

It’s also worth noting that improving your diet doesn’t necessarily mean taking time out of your schedule. You have to eat regardless; it’s just a matter of making smarter choices. It doesn’t take any more time to ask for steamed vegetables instead of fries when you’re out to dinner. In other words, thinking that you only have time to either eat better or to move more is really a false choice. While exercise does require a time commitment, eating smart does not.

The bottom line: Don’t sell yourself short. For best results, focus on both eating smarter and regular exercise.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I agree with your statement that eating a healthier diet shouldn’t take more time. It’s just a matter of changing the way one thinks about food. Instead of reaching for the processed food which may save a few minutes per day, think about what is most nutritious and will do the most for your well-being.