Our Fitness Blog
Output vs Input: Where Is Your Focus?
With all of the very cool, high-tech wearable technology today, we can all get great feedback immediately following a workout. And, understandably so, one of the main numbers individuals like to focus on is, "how many calories did I burn during that work out?" And sure, it feels good to see a calorie burn number that we are happy with. It is definitely a sense of accomplishment and hard work.
But all too often, our focus is so strong on the calorie burn that we can easily lose sight of the goal and objective, especially when body composition change is the goal. Many individuals use the calorie burn as a reward. For example, if they can burn 800 cal as compared to 400 cal, in their mind, they can treat themselves and eat more. And on the surface, it seems to make sense, right? Most individuals have a thought process of, "calories in versus calories out"; and in their mind, if they can burn more calories than they consume, results will soon follow. Unfortunately, this strategy gets individuals into trouble 99.99% of the time. As I talk about in my 3-DVD set, Rx Nutrition, "if it were as easy as calories in versus calories out, it would be that easy."
So in order to get the maximum results in terms of body composition change, let's use the same laser-like focus we have towards calorie burn (output) and place it on the numbers that are really going to make a difference and that is input. And yes, we are talking about input of fuel. By design, I'm not using the word/phrase, "input of calories." Sure, fuel for the body is calories, but not all calories are fuel.
Let's say someone wants to work out more. That’s fantastic; putting forth additional effort and energy from a workout perspective in order to achieve your goals is great. But here is the key point regarding working out more. Working out more is just fine…If and only if the body is fueled properly to support the additional workouts, make sense? Let's take someone who is working out a total of three hours per week and let's say they are not quite achieving the goals they set forth. In their mind, the next logical step is to work out more. Let's say they choose to double their weekly workout time and are now working out six hours per week. But, what happens 99.99% of the time is that this individual does not change/increase the amount of fuel they are consuming. And this is where the disconnect starts to happen.
The individual enjoys seeing the additional calorie burn (output) provided by the extra three hours per week of workouts, but they are not mindful of the fact that their fuel (input) is still the same as if they were working out three hours per week. Bottom line is this, if we put every ounce of time, effort and energy on fueling the body properly (this is very different from simply just eating healthy & feeding the body; and fueling the body properly is definitely not a diet or food fad), in time, results will happen.
I encourage individuals to get great satisfaction out of their workouts and the calorie burn (and remember, the wearable technology is giving an estimate; don’t take it as an exact number) that they are achieving, as this is a huge part of the workout feedback loop. This is fun and encouraging to know that we are making a difference in our personal health and fitness by working out. With that being said, let's take that same energy and focus and apply it to fueling the body properly at every meal, every snack, every day and every week. By placing a heavy amount of focus on the input, you will find that your return on investment of workout time will be bigger, better and more profitable than ever. Where is your focus?
Dr. Rick Kattouf II
2x Best-Selling Author
Named One Of The World Fitness Elite® Trainers Of The Year