Believe me, if there were a way to exercise off a bad diet I would have figured it out by now and I'd be a master at it!
My answer to the age old battle is there is no winner: exercise and diet both play a role BUT if one had to win, for weight loss, it would be diet (and I'm a trainer saying this so it hurts to admit this)!
In my competitive athletic prime I weighted 25 lbs more than I do now. Most of that was muscle but a LOT of that was extra padding due to my poor diet habits that I've talked about in detail here. I figured it out the hard way, you cannot use exercise to compensate for binge eating habits.
When my clients struggle to lose weight I feel like I'm also struggling along with them.
Last night I met with one of my clients who I've been seeing for about four months now and although she's really increased her fitness, lost inches, is much faster, stronger and generally looks more lean she is still struggling with the same stubborn 15 pounds to lose. Aren't they always the hardest?!
We have talked about this problem in detail and have determined a clean and healthy diet is essential to her success but for some reason it's just so much more difficult to eat less than it is to exercise more. I think that especially for successful, A-type people (like myself and many of my clients) it's harder to focus on diet than it is on exercise because we are "doers". I'd rather DO a workout then have someone tell me DO NOT have a piece of cake. Do you agree?
The other part of the problem is we are programmed for instant gratification. We see sweat and have exhaustion after a workout, which makes us feel like we deserve more food, but the truth is we generally grossly underestimate the number of calories in a meal and over estimate the number of calories burned in a workout. The reality is your average hour long workout maybe burns 600-800 calories and a pint of Hagen Dazs has about 1,500. Ugh.
Bottom Line: If you're wanting a bombshell bod you're going to have to work for it and eat clean!