man with battle rope in functional training

Training Or Nutrition: Can You Guess Which Is More Important?

The age-old question – training or nutrition. What do you think what I believe the answer to be???

I was asked this very question just the other day, and it reminded me of a quote from the greatest bodybuilding trainer of all time, Vince Gironda.

Vince was ahead of his time and because of his amazing physique (see below), he had A-list actors, high-fashion models and competitive bodybuilders flocking to his gym during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s to train under his watchful eye.

Vince Gironda
Vince Gironda.


When he was asked if training or nutrition was most important, he once famously stated that he believed that body transformation success is 80% nutrition!

But is this really true?

I’ve put together some ideas about my thoughts on training and nutrition and why they are both vital…

…although maybe at different times, depending on the level you are at in your fitness journey.

Carry on reading to find out why…

Two (Or Three) Parts Of The Same Whole

The first thing I would say is that…

you cannot separate training and nutrition.

The two work together synergistically regardless of your goals – be it gaining muscle, losing fat, athletic conditioning, etc.

You will get less-than-optimal or even non-existent results without paying attention to both.

In fact, I like to look at gaining muscle or losing fat in three parts…

  1. Resistance training;

  2. Cardio training; and

  3. Nutrition…

…with each part like a leg of a three-legged stool.

If you were to take away ANY one of the legs of the stool, then you know what will happen…

That’s right; the stool will collapse.

In reality, I believe it’s impossible to put a specific percentage on which is more important – how could we possibly know such a number to the digit?

Training or nutrition? They are both important.

But at certain stages of your training progress, I do believe placing more attention on one component over the other (training or nutrition) can create larger improvements.

Let me explain:

The Beginner: Concentrate On Nutrition

If you’re a beginner and you don’t possess what I would consider a base level of nutritional knowledge, then focusing on what you put into your mouth is, in my opinion, more important than training and should become your number one priority.

I say this because improving a poor diet can generate significant fat loss and muscle building.

For example, if you’ve been skipping meals and only eating 1 or 2 meals a day, then increasing your meal frequency up to 3 – 5 smaller meals a day will transform your physique very rapidly.

If you’re still eating lots of processed fats and refined sugars, cutting them out and replacing them with good fats like the omega-three oils that are found in fish and unrefined foods like veggies, and whole grains will make an enormous and noticeable difference to your physique very quickly.

food with omega 3 fat
Food with Omega-3 fats

If your diet is low in protein, simply adding a complete protein food like chicken breast, fish or eggs to each meal will help improve your muscle-building efforts.

No matter how hard you train or what type of training routine you’re on, it’s all in vain if you don’t provide yourself with the right nutritional support.

If you are a beginner and wish to transform the look and feel of your body, these changes in diet are more likely to result in great improvements than a change in training.

Your muscular and nervous systems will be relatively unaccustomed to exercise. Therefore, just about any training program can cause muscle growth and strength development to occur because it’s all a “shock” to an untrained body.

You can almost always find ways to tweak your nutrition to higher and higher levels. Still, once you’ve mastered all the nutritional basics, then further improvements in your diet don’t have as great of an impact as those important initial changes.

Intermediate/Advanced Trainee: Concentrate On Training

At this point, as an intermediate or advanced trainee who has the nutrition in place, changes in your training become much more important, relatively speaking.

So to answer the original question…

…Training Or Nutrition: Which Is More Important?…

…my answer is “it depends”.

And NO, I don’t think that is a cop-out!!

I believe that nutrition is ALWAYS critically important and it’s more important to emphasise for a beginner to fitness (or for someone whose diet is still a “mess”)


Whereas training is more important for the advanced person.

It’s not that nutrition ever ceases to be important, the point is, further improvements in nutrition won’t have as much impact once you already have all the fundamentals in place.

Once you’ve mastered nutrition, then it’s all about keeping that nutrition consistent and progressively increasing the efficiency and intensity of your workouts, and mastering the art of planned workout variation. This is what we coaches call “periodisation.”


The bottom line on training or nutrition is this:

There’s a saying among strength coaches and personal trainers…

“You can’t out-train a crappy diet!”

If your nutrition program is your weakest area, either because you’re just starting or you don’t have the nutritional knowledge you know you need to get results, then help is at hand.

Team ADC understands the significant part nutrition and eating well plays in helping you achieve your health and wellness goals and to help you live that ‘Lean Lifestyle”, we will be running a NUTRITION seminar to help you to get the best RESULTS possible!


For more information about our personal trainers, please click here.

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