Have you been putting in the extra effort to get to the gym and get back into in shape for your Halloween costume, formal dress, or just for your own wellbeing?
You went from working out once a week to working out 5 times a week, you attend aerobics classes twice a week, and you are even following a training schedule for your first 5K,
but you’re still not getting the results you desire.....
By making a few tweaks in your diet and changing the way you fuel your body,
you will start to see your workouts pay off!
COMMON MISTAKES + REVERSING THEM
A) Food=Fuel; Fueling and Recovering from Workouts
You are not fueling your workouts properly. You need to eat adequate nutrients before and after a workout for your body to prepare and fully recover, and to gain lean muscle mass.
Bottom Line: Nutrient timing is everything.
If you eat the wrong foods before or after a workout (for example, eating “FroYo” with loads of sugary toppings after a strength training workout--zero nutritional value) or if you wait too long to refuel after a workout and let your body starve, you will actually start to lose your muscle mass and your workout will have been useless. What is the point of even working out when you’re not refueling properly?
Different foods work differently for each person—so experiment with what you eat and when you workout to find what works best for your body. For example, if I am working out mid-morning/early afternoon, I will eat breakfast early, wait 1.5-2 hours until my workout, and then immediately after, I’ll consume my post-workout snack which is usually a protein shake + some kind of complex carbohydrate if I’m doing strength training and cardio in the same workout. If I’m just running, my workout nutrition will be different than when I am strength training.
**CHECK OUT "WORKOUT NUTRITION- THE ULTIMATE GUIDE" AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE FOR PRE AND POST WORKOUT NUTRITION IDEAS!
B) Binge Eating
We all are guilty of the late night binge after getting home from a party or a late night study session in the library. It’s okay to eat a little something at night, but if you continue to go to the Taco Bell Drive through at 3am 3x a week, obviously you will not lose weight. If you overdo it one night, don’t beat yourself up...
Start fresh the next day, increase your water intake, eat small meals frequently, and everything will fall into place. Check out Beating the Monday Blues for more information about how to recover from a binge weekend.
If you know you are going out late, set a snack aside for yourself that will satisfy you at night for when you return so that you don’t end up scrounging around for food. Eating a handful of almonds or carrots is much healthier for you than eating a big Mac and French fries or the left over BBQ in the fridge at your sorority house.
C) Meal Timing + Skipping Meals
You may be thinking you’re doing yourself a favor by waiting large amounts of time in between your meals. When you are hungry, EAT. If you wait 8 hours from meal to meal, you will start to lose lean muscle mass and will end up eating more than you need to at your next meal.
ALWAYS bring snacks with you on the go. If you know me, when I am hungry, I need to eat or else I get pretty cranky....When I don’t have snacks on me, I will not be able to focus and will then eat too much at my next meal. Don’t make that mistake or fast all day because you are going out to a big dinner at night. Instead, eat consistently throughout the day so that you don't overdo it at dinner.
Do NOT skip meals!
No, this does not mean you have to eat 5-6 smaller meals a day like me. If you want to eat a bigger breakfast, lunch, and dinner that is fine, just be sure that you are consuming a balanced diet. The definition of a balanced diet will differ depending on whom you ask (For example: Someone who follows the “Paleo” Diet which is a high protein diet with unprocessed foods will have a different view of what kinds of carbohydrates to eat than a person who consumes a vegan diet).
Eat balanced meals consisting of protein, healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, avocado, etc.), and carbohydrates.
My rule of thumb: “Eat clean” 80% of the time, and indulge 20% of the time. If I am craving ice cream, by all means I’ll eat it…. You should live a little.
**CHECK OUT THE GUIDE TO EATING A BALANCED MEAL AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE!
D) Processed vs. Unprocessed Foods- "Clean Eating"
The more whole, unprocessed foods you consume, the better. Processed foods contain loads of chemicals. Check out the ingredients on your bag of pretzels or box of cereal. I can almost guarantee that a handful of the following ingredients are on that label: High fructose corn syrup, citric acid, red No. 40/caramel color, monosodium glutamine, niacin, soybean oil, xanthan gum, the list goes on and on and on.
**CHECK OUT THE GUIDE TO FINDING REAL FOODS AT THE SUPERMARKET AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE!
PRINT OUT THESE GUIDELINES FOR BIG RESULTS!