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Why Miller Has the Right Idea – The Method Reviewed & Explained

10 February 2019

A recent response to Cardio – Myths and Truths  brought to my attention a trending theory in fitness called the Miller Method.  I approach most trends and “methods” in the fitness world with the caution reserved for snake oil salesmen. This time I trusted the source of the recommendation and decided to check it out.   The Miller Method essentially unites and places equal importance on three fundamental building blocks of fitness.  Miller refers to these three components as Nutrition Research, Eating Behavior Research and Exercise Research.



Nutritional Research = Team Nutrition. This is the argument for or all things nutrition related being the bottom line in fitness success. Miller makes reference to food and nutrition researchers but for our purposes we’ll call this group all its supporters – Team Nutrition.  Team Nutrition has the fortitude to stick to meal plans and even special dietary restriction without wavering. The mindset is that nutrition is everything in achieving health and fitness goals. The downside is this can lead to a disregard to exercise. Nutrition is usually where I see the biggest struggles with consistency and misinformation, so I applaud anybody who is truly treating it as a lifestyle. That said, the benefits of exercise are too extensive and beneficial to everybody to overlook it entirely.



Exercise Research = Team Exercise. This is the argument and advocacy of exercise physiologists and other researchers who may believe that exercise is the best way to achieve health. I seem to come across members from this team more often. Those who believe they can eat what they want if they just ramp up the exercise to compensate it. My go to reality check for them is that even professional athletes, who dedicate an absurd amount of time to exercise, turn up to finals carrying excess weight.  A 6 mile run isn’t enough to counter the caloric impact of 3 slices of pizza; you can out-eat any exercise routine.

Behavior Research = Life Challenges. Behavioral researchers study our responses to marketing and persuasion which in terms of fitness comes down to will power and discipline. Do we choose to go for seconds at the buffet, do we supersize our soda when asked? To take this a step further, think of other choices and challenges detrimental to health: tobacco use, sitting for 10 hours a day, mismanaged work stress, sleep deprivation, etc. According to Miller these challenges should be faced head on with just as much attention as we dedicate to exercise and nutrition. This is a great outlook and mindset. After all, these behavioral components are a 24/7 effort and their importance should be weighted in to any healthy lifestyle plan.

The Takeaway:


  • Place an equal emphasis on the importance of nutrition, exercise and behavior.
    • Practice balanced nutrition on a consistent basis. Become educated about the foods you eat, the caloric impact, importance of macronutrient balance and timing.
    • Exercise even if it’s not for weight management. Reap the benefits of musculoskeletal strengthening, injury and disease prevention, hormone regulation, etc.
    • Know what obstacles tend to throw you off track and put a plan in place for countering them. Identify bad habits and dedicate the time and effort to break them.



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