Having a perfectly sculpted body is not all about the grind. This is what most people get wrong about getting fit.
To achieve your fitness goals, getting your muscles worked up is just half the battle. Eating the right foods and drinking the right fluids are the other half of it.
Unfortunately, many people (especially newbies) dismiss the benefits of a proper workout meal plan. They often learn this the hard way, but when people skip the proper meals, their sessions at the gym might be for nothing.
So don’t make the same mistakes as them. If you’re just starting, below are bad workout habits that you’re probably guilty of and you should definitely stop doing:
Working out on an empty stomach
If there’s one thing that the human body and cars have in common, it’s that they’re pretty useless with an empty tank. So if you’re going for a full session, make sure that you fuel up your body first.
Keep in mind that proper pre-workout meals are as crucial as your warm-up routines. They can help you prepare your body by providing the nutrients it needs so you wouldn’t feel dizzy and nauseated during an intense session.
So what should you eat?
According to nutritionists, you should be munching on carbs before working out. Carbohydrate-rich foods that are low in fat and protein will refuel the energy reserves of your body called glycogen and can power you up for longer exercise sessions.
While carbs are a good pre-workout meal or snack, experts say that you should take it easy and don’t eat too much. If you eat your heart out before exercise, there’s a good chance that your stomach will feel uncomfortable throughout the routine.
Also, the ideal time to eat your pre-workout meals or snacks is 30 minutes to 3 hours before your actual exercise. This way, your gut is not digesting while you move around.
If you do not have any idea yet of what to include in your pre-workout meals, below are some foods that can get you started:
This fruit is a natural power snack. It’s loaded with 27 grams of carbs and potassium that are great for a power-up. You can either make a smoothie out of it or eat it straight from the peel!
If you’re planning to beef up, trail mix nuts are a great choice. They’re high in fats and also contain calories and proteins so you can develop the muscle mass that you’re aiming for. Just be sure to stay away from the chocolate-coated nuts in the pre-packed varieties.
Longer workout sessions require a consistent supply of energy. And a bowl of oats is the best food for the job. Oats supply carbs gradually which means your energy can be sustained for the full hours of your exercise.
It’s a native Peruvian plant that’s rich in amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to help you increase your energy during sessions. There are powdered maca products that you can either mix with your morning coffee or a cuppa tea.
Dark chocolate bars that are made with pure cacao or at least 70% trigger two happiness hormones (dopamine and serotonin) that can keep you motivated for your gym day. Although it won’t provide you with all the carbs that you need, cacao helps create a positive feeling that will get you through a whole session at the gym.
Not rehydrating enough during a workout
Not bringing a water bottle is a mortal sin for all gym rats. Rehydrating your body is one of the most important things to remember so you can replenish the water and electrolytes that you lose during a routine.
Aside from water, you can also rehydrate with other fluids like fruit juices and sports drinks.
But if you’re planning to sweat out for one to two hours, you might want to eat some light snacks that contain some carbs. Apple, granola bar, and other carbohydrate-rich foods will keep you powered up for a whole session.
Just take it easy, though. Foods stay in your stomach for much longer than fluids. So if you don’t want to feel discomfort in your tummy, just eat lightly.
Skipping proper post-workout meals
Cooling down routines are as crucial as your warm-up lunges and stretching. The same goes for your workout meals. Fuelling up before and after working out is just as important.
But most people forget how crucial it is to eat properly after exercising. If you’re guilty of this, keep in mind that post-workout meals can make or break your fitness goals. That’s why you should always cook and eat proper meals after sweating out.
When choosing the right foods for your post-workout bites, you should remember the 3Rs:
- Rehydrate with fluids
- Refuel with carbs
- Repair with protein
Below are some of the best foods that you can include in your list:
Rehydrating after exercising is a no-brainer. You need to replenish all the water and electrolytes that you lost during the routines.
If you worked out at the gym for more than one hour, it’s better if you drink sports drinks to refuel your body with sodium and electrolytes.
Chicken and Eggs
As we’ve mentioned, you’ll need protein to repair your muscles. Chicken and eggs are rich in digestible protein so you can include them in your after-workout meals.
If you don’t have that much time to prepare a full meal, you can go for eggs and toast since they’re easy to make. But if you’re not in a rush, you’ll have time to cook some chicken and partner it with lettuce or any kind of veggie salad.
Quinoa is a plant-based protein that helps shorten the recovery time of your muscles. It’s also loaded with 10 amino acids that are essential in speedy muscle repair.
The best thing about quinoa is that it can also provide 46 grams of carbs per cup. These carbs will be converted into energy that you need to power through the remaining hours of the day.
Last but not the least, sweet potatoes. These root crops are a staple post-workout food because of their nutritional content. It contains almost double the number of carbs in quinoa, which is 84 grams per cup. Plus, it contains potassium, antioxidants, and fibres which are all needed for your body to recover.
Sweet potatoes also help prevent muscle aches and fatigues after a gruelling session.
What you’ve read above are only some of the common mistakes that most gym-goers make. But now that you’ve read them, we hope that you’ll avoid these bad habits and follow some of the mentioned tips to the tee.
As fitness freaks ourselves, we know how much a proper workout meal can make or break one’s fitness goals. So if you’re dedicated to trim down those fats and sculpt some abs, eat the right foods at the right time.
But if you’re still in the figuring out stage of your fitness journey, our professional trainers can help you get started. You can find us at Bentleigh, Cheltenham, Clayton, East Brighton, Oakleigh, and Ormond.
For as low as $12 a week, you can get full access to our facilities and equipment. No lock-in contracts, so no strings attached. You can stop and come back anytime you want!