Is This Why You See No Results When You Exercise?
Whether you’re an athlete or someone who hates to get off the sofa, there are a number of mistakes that you can make with your diet that can keep you from getting the most out of the exercise that you put in. Here are some of the most serious ways in which your diet misconceptions can affect your exercise plan.
Banishing all fat from your diet
Many exercise nutrition books are at pains to repeatedly remind people who exercise that they need healthy fats from nuts and seeds for good muscle growth and overall health. Even so, it’s difficult for people to set aside the fear of fat that they’ve learned their whole lives.
Whether your aim is to lose weight or to become more powerful as an athlete, you need healthy fat in your diet. Fat is important for a number of reasons. If your aim is to lose weight, you need fats in your diet to feel filled up sooner and to keep from feeling hunger too often. Healthy fats also improve the way your body absorbs the antioxidants in the fruits and vegetables that you eat. New research indicates that packing one’s diet with antioxidants helps the body stay lean. A good supply of fat also raises your body’s basic metabolic rate – helping you burn calories more quickly.
If you are an athlete, you need fat in your diet to help in the process of muscle recovery. Fat is an important component of the basic structure of each cell in your body. Your cells need fat to repair themselves. Taking too much fat off your diet can result in fatigue and muscles that are prone to injury. The lesson to learn here is clear – whether you need to lose weight or improve your performance as an athlete, you need enough healthy fats in your diet. Be sure to dress your salads in olive oil. You can use olive oil to sauté your vegetables, too.
Using sports drinks more than you need to
If the way you exercise makes you sweat heavily – perhaps you put yourself through intense workouts or you perform your workouts in hot and humid weather – staying hydrated with a sports drink is a smart decision. Sports drinks help put the electrolytes that you lose to sweating back in your body.
If you don’t sweat too much when you exercise, though (perhaps you get your workouts in an air-conditioned gym or perhaps you don’t exercise more than a half hour at a time) a regular drink of plain water is all you need.
Choosing water over a sports drink isn’t just about cutting unnecessary expense. Sports drinks are filled with sugar and carbohydrates. Knocking back a bottle of sports drink can put 30 g of sugar in your system – as much as a chocolate bar. Even coconut water is filled with carbohydrates. If you only get a short workout, a sports drink could actually make you weigh more at the end of a workout than when you start.
Not eating after a workout or eating only protein-rich foods
Many people are particularly afraid to sit down to a proper meal after a workout. Understandably, they don’t want all their hard work at the gym to go to waste by eating a meal and putting all those calories back in.
This approach overlooks one little detail – a healthy meal puts more into your body than just calories. It supplies your body with vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and other nutrients. When you deny yourself a well-balanced meal, you make it difficult for your body to heal itself. In the end, working out and denying yourself a decent meal can lower your metabolism and make injuries a frequent occurrence. You could find it difficult to get regular exercise then. While a good workout doesn’t make it okay for you to gorge on anything you want, it does make it okay for you to eat a full meal.
A balanced meal is what you need – not one that arbitrarily stresses on one or another food group. Many people who work out particularly favor proteins. They read that proteins are important to healing the muscles after a workout and go all out on them. Concentrating on proteins to the exclusion of other sources of nutrition, though, can slow down muscle growth, too.