Two Rules Busy People Must Break to Get In Shape

As an entrepreneur and small business owner, you want to keep sharp, in both mind and body…after all, if the boss is down and out, it will be hard for your business to thrive. Here’s a guest post by Liz Dialto sharing tips on how to stay on top of your health so you can kill it in your business.

My two least favorite “rules” in health and fitness are eat less and exercise more.

Today I’m going to show you why this is terrible advice, and why I teach my busy clients to do the exact opposite:  Eat more and exercise less.

No, I’m not taking crazy pills. This pervasive “eat less, exercise more” mentality has four serious holes in it:

1. There’s missing information here!  Eat less of what? Do more of what kind of exercise?  The answers to these questions make a huge difference in the results you’ll get.

2. Not eating enough can actually signal your body to store fat.  Your body is smart and knows it needs energy.  When you let five hours or more pass without eating, the body says, “Hey, there’s no sign of fuel coming in so we better hold onto the fuel we have stored up.”  And guess what one of the largest sources of stored fuel in your body usually is?  That’s right…fat!

3. Eating less also requires a ton of willpower, which most people don’t have.  This is the #1 reason why most diets don’t work.  It’s not that the methods are bad (although some of them are), they’re just not sustainable.

4. Long steady bouts of cardio (which is what most people default to) aren’t the best use of your time.  The minute you step off the machine, the workout is over.

So we’re going to be a little naughty and break the rules.


Keep things simple by following these rules of thumb:

1. Shoot for 3 meals a day and 2 snacks.  By eating every 3-4 hours, you’ll rarely feel tired or hungry so you won’t make silly choices because your body is desperate for energy.  Your metabolism will do work and you won’t experience that mid-day, productivity-halting crash that everybody hates.

Eat breakfast within 30-60 minutes of waking (this is key, it’s like flipping the “ON” switch for your metabolism”.

3-4 hours later snack

3-4 hours later lunch

3-4 hours later snack

3-4 hours later dinner

2. Use these time-saving tricks:

  • Keep some protein bars in your car, in the bag you carry or at your desk.
  • Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning so you have time for breakfast (the difference you feel in your energy will be well worth that 15 minutes, I promise).
  • See below for how to take the “thinking” out of meals on the go

3. Follow this plate rule.  Half of your plate at any given meal should be veggies and/or fruits-the greener the better.  The other half should be split between lean protein and carbs (the more “whole” the better-think brown rice, sweet potato, etc.)

Example:  Instead of a sandwich at lunch, go for a salad, 1 slice of bread or a handful of croutons is a better choice than 2 slices of bread or an entire wrap.

4. Snacks should never be just a carb.  Don’t reach for chips, pretzels or sweets.  They do nothing for you.  Reach for something that’s going to give you a return on your investment of energy.  Fruit and nuts, greek yogurt (lower in sugar, higher in protein), a protein bar or a smoothie.


Do you like residual income?  How about residual exercise?  The focus here is on what I like to call “quick and dirty workouts.” I’m all about getting a lot done in a short period of time, preferably 30 minutes or less.

If you love efficiency, these workouts are for you, baby!

Quick and dirty workouts create an “afterburn” which means your body will continue to burn fat and calories long after the workout is over.

The best approach is to combine weight training with bursts of cardio.  Here’s a short video outlining a 20-minute glute workout as an example.  You can also check out workouts like Metabolic Effect, Crossfit, or Tighter in 10 days (disclosure: this is my program, so I’m a little biased :)).

Those are my recommendations, now it’s time to take some action, people!  I’ll be hanging out in the comments, so be sure to ask a question if you have one.  I’d also love to know how you plan to break the rules with me, so leave a comment telling us which tips you’ll be implementing ASAP or your own methods for squeezing health and fitness into a busy schedule.

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Liz DialtoLiz DiAlto is a NYC-based personal trainer, nutrition coach, results-lover and loud-laugher. Visit her at for quick and dirty workouts you can do anywhere, healthy recipes, motivation that lasts and her favorite new feature “Booty Shakin’ Tuesdays.” Click here for Liz’s FREE GUIDE: Insider Secrets to a Slammin’ Hot Body and feel free to say hi on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. Yep, my body’s a lot happier if i eat more protein less carb (should that be fewer carbs??). Anyway! Always been a lover of the higher intensity, interval-type exercise – what with aging bones and active children gotta fit it in when I can ;)


  2. Cathy, I love the way you put that, “my body’s a lot happier…” I agree 100%!

  3. I love the quick and dirty workouts I learned from you. This by far has been the most effective for me. When I thought I needed to be on the treadmill for an hour and then lift weights, I would NEVER do it.

    Great info!

  4. Love the “residual income” analogy – makes total sense. Who wouldn’t want to eat more and work out less? Thanks for de-bunking these weight loss myths that keep everyone so frustrated!

  5. Liz, I love your Quick & Dirty workouts! and your Eat More tips are so helpful when I’m in a rush. This is the BEST post for busy freaks like me. THANK YOU!

  6. Like Heather, I love the “residual income” analogy and how you intelligently call into question what has become a misleading, frustrating mantra (“Eat less, Exercise More.”).

    • And it pops up in the most unexpected places too. I was reading Ramit Sethi’s book and he uses it for an analogy…I was thinking “noooo!!!”

  7. Who doesn’t want a quick + dirty workout or residual income!:) Great post, Liz! Easy to follow and easy to do!

  8. Ha! I went to get a handful of nuts just to read this, because YES I was starving, and NO I didn’t eat breakfast, and YES I know I need to eat more frequently. Here’s a question I don’t know the answer to….WHY is my “go-to snack” always cheese?? Am I craving the fat? Or the protein? Or the Calcium? Or the salt? Or all of the above? Really, I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t want some cheese….or am I just a mouse!?

    • I don’t think you’re a mouse Tanya :) Your answers are right in your question. You could be craving any of those things. What most people don’t realize about a craving is that it’s a desire, not a physical feeling of hunger. And sometimes people confuse hunger with thirst. Here’s what I recommend…it might be tough but should reveal some answers for you. Try to go a week without cheese, get it out of your house-stock up on other snacks like nuts, fruit, (not yogurt because I’m curious to see how you feel sans dairy), a protein bar or smoothie, hummus and veggies, etc. Grab for one of those instead of cheese for a week and see if it’s really about the cheese, maybe it’s just a convenient snack to grab? Maybe you just needed to be aware of it. Cheese is not a solid source of protein, and there are better fats out there like avocado and nut butters. Hope that helps!

  9. Love this concept! Having just had baby number three my time is limited! I need quick and dirty!!! I can totally tell when I am eating the wrong stuff too.Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. it will better if you reduce snack.

  11. Snacks are great! I do this kind of diet where I eat 5-6 times a day of small portions with time interval. That really helps your digestives system digest better.

    Webmaster of Instant Niche Maker

  12. Yeah, there’s a lot of rules that we have to break, to be able to stay in shape. But it’s all about having balance in our lives. We just have to have the right time management skills and everything will be easy, or less challenging at least.