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You Can’t Out Train A Bad Diet; The Experiment

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January 10, 2013


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You Can’t Out Train A Bad Diet; The Experiment


On December 13 I started an experiment; to eat like what I would call “a typical North American”.  I would not be eating my normal Paleo diet/lifestyle, I would not be eating clean and I would be eating all kinds of process foods along with some take-out, while mixing in the occasional healthy meal here and there.

Why would I do this?  I wanted to prove that you can’t out train a bad diet!

Over the span of three weeks I ate some McDonald’s, some “healthy” Subway, some Domino’s Pizza (thin crust), some Holiday treats, cooked some healthy meals at home occasionally, I had Christmas Dinner and drinks and probably anything else you ate over the Holidays as well.


My snacks mostly consisted of fruit, nuts, chocolate, chips, dips, hummus, cheese and crackers or some other type of processed foods.  Though this is how I was eating, all the while I was keeping my training in the gym consistent and the same as I would normally be training.

The result?  I put on 16 lbs and gained 3.75” around my belly at my belly button, which is what I call my “love handles”.

Now not all of that weight gain was fat, I did build some muscle mass, however, 3.75” around my abdomen is FOOLISH!!  A lot of that was bloat from the wheat and dairy and some of it would be water retention, however there were other “side affects” to this experiment besides weight gain and the bloated stomach.  I had way less energy than usual, I was quite lethargic and tired, I did not sleep as well, and something that I hadn’t felt in over 6 months was extremely sore joints for no reason at all.  Even worse, my WOD times were a good minute or two slower than normal!

After a long three weeks, it’s a new year and I’m 100% back on the Paleo Diet and feeling amazing! After just 36 hours of being back on Paleo, I was down 6 lbs and 0.5″ around my stomach.  That’s pretty incredible! My energy levels are coming back, I’m sleeping better and I’m just all around happier!

The point of this whole experiment isn’t to try and convince everyone that you should be doing the Paleo Lifestyle, it was to show you that even though I was still killing in the gym every day, I put on weight and I actually wasn’t able to kill it as hard as I normally do.

This just goes to show what I’ve been saying all along, you can’t out train a bad diet! The proof is in the pudding… Mmmmm… Pudding…

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About Author

Your Inner Strong

Former athlete turned fat man & now former fat man turned health enthusiast and gym owner. Canadian - Co-Owner at Just Fitness - Co-Founder at Warrior Strong Apparel - Paleoer - FitFluential - All around Awesome!

(32) Readers Comments

  1. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama
    January 10, 2013 at 4:11 am

    Very, very interesting. This is further proof that abs are definitely made in the kitchen.

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 8:55 am

      People always as me, "how do I lose that last 10 lbs?" and I always answer the same way; "It's all about diet".

  2. Pamela Hernandez
    January 10, 2013 at 4:27 am

    That is amazing. I have always preached the nutrition is 80% of your results. But that is a more dramatic result than I could have imagined.

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 8:56 am

      A lot of that for me is the fact that I have a gluten and dairy sensitivity, but yeah, it's at least 60% diet for me. Anyone who is just starting out or has a lot of weight to lose, it's definitely 80% diet.

  3. Jeremy Logsdon
    January 10, 2013 at 5:00 am

    I actually really needed this blog post this morning. I've been lamenting my very slow progress, and even though I'm "watching" the quantity of what I eat, I don't think I'm watching WHAT I eat closely enough. You have definitely inspired me to clean it up!

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Awesome! You need to pay attention to WHAT goes into your body more than how much. Even on the how much side of things, more often than not, people aren't eating enough. Keep up the great work!

  4. Helen
    January 10, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Wow. I knew that diet is really important but I didn't that it could have such drastic results, even with exercise. Thanks for sharing.

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Yup! What fuels your body is more important that most people realize.

  5. Tamara
    January 10, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Scott, so glad you didn't stick to it any longer! Remember the internal damage the guy in 'Supersize Me' sustained after living on McDonald's for a month? What's amazing is that so many people eat like this all the time and don't know how amazing they'd actually feel if they ditched all the processed foods! Have you read 'It Starts with Food'? A great sciency-read on the paleo approach. Thanks for sharing.

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 8:58 am

      I couldn't have done it any longer, my body and mind were on such a roller-coaster of emotions. I feel SO good again!

  6. GiGi Eats Celebrities
    January 10, 2013 at 10:26 am

    OMG I could NEVER DO such an experiment! I am far too happy with the way that currently am, that putting my body through the wringer is just NOT AN OPTION! But it's pretty cool that you were okay with doing it. Just goes to show that crap food = crap body! HORAY for the PALEO DIET!!! I'm ALLLLLLL over that one :)

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 8:59 am

      I wouldn't say I was "OK" with doing it, but I was happy to do it to show the results. I'm happy to be back to 100% Paleo though!

  7. Matty T
    January 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I would've really been interested in seeing some quantitative comparisons done before and after as well, like resting heart rate, cholesterol level, blood pressure, etc. Takes the water weight/muscle mass out of the equation and focuses more on cardiac health as opposed to physical appearance. I've also heard that people who eliminate dairy from their diet experience a noticeable change in their joint/arthritis pain... nice to see you getting some relief as well!

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Yeah, now that you mention it, that would have been great to do. I'd like to say I could do this again, but I know I can't! The dairy was the killer on my joints. I don't miss it at all!

  8. Ken Davenport
    January 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    I was doing the same thing, but I didn't call it an experiment until NOW!

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Were you doing the same thing as an experiment or was that just your diet? Have you changed your eating habits?

  9. Katy
    January 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    This is a great experiment! Diet definitely plays a huge role in how your body looks and feels. I on the otherhand probably don't eat as clean as you do because I love food too much and I'm happy with my body, but I try to eat clean most of the time!

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 9:03 am

      I eat clean because my body needs it. How badly I felt mentally and physically due to my diet just isn't worth it for me. I LOVE food! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE FOOD! But there are amazing ways to love food without punishing my body!

  10. Steve
    January 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I've been back on Weight Watchers since September and was so focused on the quantity of what I was eating (and making sure I stayed under the allotted points) that I wasn't really putting much focus on what I was eating. Sure, I was eating healthier overall, but when you are a big guy, you get a lot of points, and you can fit a TON of crap within those points. This week I've begun a shift in focus to healthier, more nutrient dense food. I won't know how it shows up on the scale until Saturday, but I'm feeling pretty good already.

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 9:04 am

      How has the shift been going? As I mentioned to someone else above, WHAT you put into your body is much more important than HOW MUCH.

  11. Jannine Murray
    January 16, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Wow 16 lbs sheesh thats a lot!! Yes Ive tried out-training my poor diet and it really exhausts your adrenals and ages you fast!!! Not to mention all the inflammation you create! So if you put on that amount of weight, whats your take off plan??:) Im curious to know what your remedy is? Jannine

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 9:05 am

      I'm back to 100% strict Paleo. That's the biggest key for me. I have a gluten and dairy sensitivity that treat my body like shit! It's been a month and a half and I'm almost there. Scary to think that I put on all that weight in 3 weeks and it's taken twice as long to get it off.

  12. mac
    January 17, 2013 at 9:19 am

    When you're eating 100% paleo, do you feel like you're missing the other stuff that you're not eating? Does that feeling go away? Are you ok with that feeling going away? I guess what I'm asking is, "Are you walking around life thinking about the things that you wish you could be eating once in a while?"

    • Your Inner Skinny
      February 11, 2013 at 9:07 am

      I do miss somethings, some times. But I do a cheat day once a week and usually have whatever I've been craving. I don't feel like I'm "missing out" but I do have cravings. The funny thing once I eat what I've been craving, my body treats me like shit and I think to myself "why do I miss this again?".

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  14. Paul John
    February 1, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Sounds like what most might suspect, but a lot of it is how you interpret and look at how you're feeling. A lot of people ask me how I stay so lean and muscular, and my response is I really eat whatever. Ironically it's a lot of the things you listed...and not just Dominos pizzas and pastas, but Cinnastix with double icing and a chilled Coca Cola or two. My healthiest snack is probably string cheese, and worse is definitely $1 spicy McChickens. When I eat these foods I don't think anything of it. There's this general idea it is shameful, but since I crave it I go with the idea my body needs it for fuel. Sure, I work out extra, but with a mentality that the food (whatever it is) has given me a good source of calories/energy. I actually got another fit guy doing this and I think he eats worse, although he has a bit more muscle to feed. We call it 'The Boiling Point', where your body carries enough muscle to metabolize above necessary levels. My girlfriend often calls me a fatass witnessing how much I eat, but hey, everyone is different!

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