How much does your nutrition plan really matter?

They say that 60–70% of your aesthetic results are determined by nutrition, not exercise. Sure, both are important. But nutrition is the clear favorite.

It’s what they told me to say in my sales pitches when I first sold training at 24 Hour Fitness. It’s what you’ll see if you do a quick search on Google. And it’s what everybody’s getting at when they use (and overuse) the cliche, “you can’t out-train a bad diet.”

But I disagree. It’s higher than 60–70%. A lot higher.

Listen, exercise is great. The endorphins, the strength, the long-term health benefits—all worth loving. And exercise in all forms will lead to adaptation (read: results). But here’s the thing: how you adapt is entirely affected by what you’re eating.

In other words, exercise leads to results, but the manifestation of those results is 100% determined by the way you’re eating, not 60–70. It doesn’t matter how much you crush it in the gym, you can’t lose fat or build muscle if you aren’t on a nutrition plan that makes either goal possible.

Science has my back on this, too.

The Laws of Thermodynamics and Your Nutrition Plan

Natural laws govern our world. We see these laws in action as we study things like physics, biology, and chemistry. Apples fall from trees, ice floats, and actions have equal, opposite reactions. Because science.

These are laws, not theories. In other words, they always apply.

The Laws of Thermodynamics are often cited when discussing nutrition. And for good reason. The first law states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, simply transferred. Basically, energy is conserved.

In nutrition, that energy is a calorie.

When you eat a bagel, along with enjoying delicious food-phoria, you consume energy (calories). This caloric energy is used by your body to function. Even when you’re laying in bed doing nothing, you’re burning calories. Add in physical activity and you’ll burn more calories.

Because energy is conserved, what you eat has a direct effect on how you look.

Eat more calories than you burn and the excess energy will be stored. You’ll gain weight. Consume fewer calories than you burn and your body must utilize previously stored energy to function. You’ll lose weight.

It really is that simple.

Don’t misconstrue, though. There’s a lot more to a proper nutrition program than calories in vs calories out. But it all builds upon the foundational laws of thermodynamics.

The Schaap Special: A Case Study in How Much Your Nutrition Plan Matters

Recently, I’ve been coaching the Schaaps (Mackay, Hayden, and Sarah) and they’ve all been crushing it. But their program’s unique.

Instead of my usual one-on-one coaching, they all wanted to go to the gym and workout together. I’m all for having a lifting buddy, but there was a slight problem…

They all wanted to follow the same plan even though they all had very different goals.

Mackay wanted to maintain weight while dropping body fat to 17–18%, Hayden wanted to pack on 10 pounds, and Sarah wanted to lose fat while adding an inch to her glutes.

All these are fantastic goals. And all these are different goals—very different.

These differences weren’t reflected in their training, which was nearly identical. (Full disclosure: Sarah did do some extra KB swings. #bootygains.) These differences were reflected in their nutrition programs, which were fine-tuned to them and their individual goals.

Their results show that the type of progress you get is determined by nutrition.

Their Results and Proof of How Much Your Nutrition Matters


After a couple months, Mackay lost 11.4 pounds of fat (11.4). Oh, and he also gained 3.4 pounds of lean mass. In case you were curious, melting away over 10 pounds of fat while packing on lean mass is amazing.

His long-term goal was to drop his body fat percentage to about 17 or 18 percent from where he started (23%). He’s already shed 4.1% body fat.


Then there’s Hayden, Mackay’s brother. His main goal was to pack on size while staying lean. On the same workout program that helped Mackay lose 11.4 pounds of fat, Hayden’s added six pounds to his frame, bringing him over halfway to his long-term goal of 225.

He also kept lean while gaining weight. Much like his lat spread, this is huge.

From the initial measurements to latest check in, there was nothing more than a fractional increase to his body fat percentage as measured by skin-fold calipers. Less than 1/4 of a percent, to be precise. Which, given the inevitable variance of skin-fold calipers, is a minute change.


Sarah, Hayden’s wife, also crushed it. Her goals were to get leaner and add an inch to her glutes. As you can see, she did exactly that.

Following the same program that helped her brother-in-law lose fat while building lean mass and her husband pack on slabs of muscle, helped her get leaner and add size to her glutes. Within the first month, she had already seen an inch of booty gains—the initial goal.

All three of the Schaaps saw amazing results on the same workout program. But the results they saw were specific to their goals. How? The right nutrition plan.

You can nail your exercise program, but you’ll never see the results you want without getting your eating on point.

The Right Nutrition for You

When you combine both training and nutrition that’s tailored to your goals, you get better results. It’s that simple. But nutrition can be tricky.

The internet’s full of all kinds of information—and misinformation—about everything. Especially dieting.

It’s confusing. And while people are spending time trying to make sense of it all, they could (read: should) be getting results instead.

I want to help people finally cut through the confusion, get on a nutrition plan that’s right for them, and get better results. That’s why I’ve recently launched a new branch of my coaching program—nutrition coaching.

Everybody’s different. Everybody’s got different goals. And everybody deserves a personalized plan to help them make those goals a reality.

If you want to get your nutrition on track, shoot me a message:

We’ll chat a bit, get you pointed in the right direction, and then we’ll figure out if the BENTRAINED Nutrition Coaching Program is a good fit.

Should you be cutting carbs? Eating more protein? Less fat? Maybe. Should you be fasting, carb cycling, or on a reverse diet? Perhaps.

Let’s talk and figure it all out. It’s time you utilize nutrition to maximize your results.