Do you know the difference between a program and a lifestyle? A program is something with a definitive goal and deadline. A lifestyle is a lifelong endeavor. One is short-term, while the other is in it for the long haul.
A program allows you to focus on a short term outcome such as “I want to increase my deadlift”. This approach focuses on one specific task for a given amount of time, twelve weeks for example. Another example would be the Eat Smart Program. It has a deadline of twelve weeks. The program’s goal is to teach participants the nutrition habits that allow them to improve their health, lose body fat and alter their body composition for the better, with the goal for clients to continue Eating Smart as a lifestyle.
A lifestyle is the result of a lifelong (or at least from a particular point in life and onward) dedication to a given pursuit. A master level practitioner in a martial art is an example of someone who has dedicated their life to the art. There is no short-term black belt program.
Which is better? The lifestyle is the one that produces the most impressive accomplishments, if nothing else because of longevity. However, programs have their place as well. A world class powerlifter, one that has built his/her strength up through years of lifting, could use a program to work on one specific lift for a twelve week period. Your optimal goal is to create health and exercise habits that you can make part of your lifestyle. Save the programs for short periods with focused goals.