By Angelica Gavaldon.

Everyone asks me how I got so skinny after I retired from the tennis tour. Specifically, I dropped around 20 pounds. How is this possible if I was training seven hours a day to get ready for a competition, compared to the one to two hour workouts I get in during my day now? Well first, I was in better shape back then, even though I am thinner now. My workout regime during my tennis days consisted of intense hours of cardio, heavy weight lifting, drilling on the tennis court and explosive track workouts.

All of this cannot compare to any kind of training I do now, but the number of calories I consumed to keep my energy levels was also very high – I was always hungry! People think that because they are exercising one hour a day that it is a free pass to eat whatever you want or splurge a little more, but you would be surprised how important a healthy diet is in comparison to exercise if your end goal is to shed pounds. Certain types of exercise can actually make you feel much hungrier, which may cause you to consume more calories than you actually burned.

While training is healthy for you, you should maintain and continuously modify a healthy exercise routine as an additional measure to dieting. It is of the utmost importance to make sure your eating habits are healthy and you are not consuming extra calories to stay in shape. To further exemplify this point, below is a chart of some popular foods and the amount of exercise needed to burn off the calories consumed.

• It takes one hour of intense spin class to burn off a bagel with cream cheese, which may have up to 500 calories.
• A bakery muffin may have up to 1000 calories depending on the size. It takes a one hour of intense boot camp class to burn this off.
• Two slices of pizza requires about one hour of running
• One cafe mocha at a coffee shop may have up to 300 calories, which is equal to about one hour of walking.

Remember, successful weight loss is all about moderation and portion control, your exercise routine should be maintained for the health benefits and not to make up for poor dietary choices, and don’t forget to consult a physician.