It’s been a week after your new exercise routine and you’re feeling fantastic. The pain in your legs, the tiredness, everything is worth it if you get on that scale and you’re a few kilograms lesser. But then, something happens. You step on the scale and the needle hasn’t moved at all. How can that be? You go to the gym every day and haven’t eaten an ounce of carbs. The truth is a new exercise routine just doesn’t consist of a few miles on the treadmill or cutting the calorie intake in half. You have to make the program work for you and your body.
To help you make sure that you are as successful as possible, we rounded up some mistakes you probably didn’t know you were making when it comes to your diet and exercising. Be sure to avoid these common misconceptions about eating while working out.
Yes, carbs do fuel your workout but that doesn’t mean you overload on them. “Ideally, you want both carbs and protein before and after working out,” advises Keri Gans, nutrionist and author of The Small Change Diet. “The carbs are needed to help fuel your workout and to deplete your glycogen stores afterwards. Protein brings nutrients and oxygen to your muscles; it helps to rebuild and repair.”
Drinking Sports Drinks
We know it’s quite tempting to keep yourself hydrated with those fancy sports drinks. Adding a sports drink to your exercise regimen when you only worked out for an hour or less is completely unnecessary. “Unless you are working out for more than one hour at a high intensity, water will do just fine for hydration,” says Gans.
“Rest is crucial when you’re working out,” says Caroline personal trainer and author of The Trendy Trainer blog. “Not only is it important to give your muscles time to recover, but if you don’t let them ‘repair’ themselves, you risk overuse injuries as well as overtraining — not an ideal way to begin your healthy lifestyle.”
Don’t forget to switch it up
“I see this far too often — fitness lovers never deviate from the form of exercise they’re most comfortable with,” says Caroline Earle, personal trainer and author of The Trendy Trainer blog.
“Runners stay on the treadmill, yogis on their mats. Let’s break this pattern, shall we? The moment your body begins to work out in a different fashion, it will become stronger. You’ll begin to see changes to your physique and perhaps even your mental clarity as you switch up your mundane gym routine.”
Skipping Meals before the workout
If you’ve ever heard the expression “can’t work on an empty stomach,” you’ll get why this is also a mistake when beginning a workout routine.
“Whether or not you eat before exercising can be very individual,” clarifies Gans. “There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong — rather, you should listen to your own body. Many people do perform better if they have a light snack, such as a banana and spoonful of almond butter, before they hit the gym.”
People often think that if they are lifting weights during their exercise routines that they need to pack their diets with even more protein. This is not necessarily the case.
“The average exerciser is most likely consuming enough protein as it is by default, and does not need to include protein supplements,” says Gans.
Try out some of our healthy smoothies instead.