Let’s face it, most people exercise simply to look better. So, in terms of body transformation preferences, my approach to exercise is designed to generate a lean, fit looking body, rather than bulking people up into pro bodybuilder or NFL linebacker dimensions. But having said that, my #1 rule of exercise is to keep it safe, sane, and sustainable across your entire lifespan. Your exercise program should make you healthier and more functional, rather than generating a dysfunctional, injured body. I believe a well designed and safely executed resistance training program (i.e. working the body’s skeletal muscles against some form of resistance) is the most effective form of exercise by far. No other form of exercise gives you as much bang for your buck as resistance training. For a lean, fit, and healthy body, I suggest performing resistance training workouts 1 to 3 days a week. Then throw in 30 minute brisk walks most days, and you’re good to go. No need to complicate exercise any further than that.
Having tried many diets over the years...everything from low fat to low carb to Paleo...I've come to the conclusion that overly extreme diets are impossible for most people to follow long-term. And that these sorts of extreme diets, which label entire categories of foods as "evil" and forbidden, set people up for binge eating episodes, eating disorders, and long term failure to optimally control one's weight. Plus, let's face it, having your choice of foods severely restricted is a very unpleasant way to live. And often hard on the ole grocery budget as well. Yet another problem with overly restrictive diets, in terms of fat loss, is that they tend to distract you from proper calorie control. Low fat diet gurus claim you can "eat all you want" of low fat foods...low carb gurus claim you can "eat all you want" of low carb foods, etc. The creators of these diets are hoping their diet will "automatically" control your calorie intake for you. But it doesn't usually seem to work out that way. So, with all these facts in mind, my dietary creed is as follows. First and foremost, track your daily calorie intake! (I like CronoMeter.com for calorie and nutrition tracking) You'll never achieve an optimal body recomposition without optimal calorie control. Then simply get your allotment of calories from a preponderance of healthy foods, while still allowing for an occasional treat. It's also worthwhile to track your vitamin and mineral intake, at least for a period of time, to ensure your diet is delivering the nutrients your body needs. And lastly, find a ratio of carbs, fats and proteins which seems to work best for YOUR body. For most people that will probably be a diet which is moderate in carbs, moderate in healthy fats, and moderately high in lean proteins. Of course this advice may not work for people with medical conditions, who require medically therapeutic diets, but I'm not a doctor. I can only offer general guidelines which I feel are most applicable to the majority of people.