5 Nutrition Mistakes People Make when Working Out

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body. We always encourage our clients to incorporate some sort of movement into their daily routine. Exercise improves overall health, mental health, and longevity. It can also speed up weight loss when appropriately combined with a healthy nutrition plan. If weight loss is your primary goal, it is important to understand that exercise is not a free pass to eat whatever you want. Good nutrition can help you see the fruits of your labor in the gym.

If you are not seeing or feeling the results from your workouts you could be making one of these common nutrition mistakes.

1. Not eating before a workout.

We hear many people say they think they are saving calories by working out on an empty stomach. However, if you do not have enough fuel to get you through the workout you are going to burn fewer calories overall. Make sure to eat at least a little something to give you the energy to workout your best. We start many of our clients off with just a bite of a bar, toast or fruit to get their gut used to consuming food pre-workout. Make sure your pre workout meal/snack is full of easily digested carbohydrates such as fruit, toast, oatmeal or cereal.

2. You do not worry about your diet because you are working out hard.

Whether you want to lose weight or see specific results from your training, you need to be fueling your body properly. Eating well when working out will help you to lose weight, gain muscle, and improve recovery so you have more energy for your future workouts. Make sure you balance complex carbohydrates, protein, and some good fat in your meals and snacks.

3. Overindulging post workout.

Working out helps you burn more calories daily, however research has shown that most people overestimate the number of calories they burn in a workout. It is much easier to consume the calories than it is to burn them off. Even those who are burning a large number of calories in their workouts need to remember the calories they are consuming during and after workouts for peak performance and recovery. To get stronger and to perform better you need to refuel with nutrient dense foods that are going to help your body recover and grow.

4. Not hydrating enough.

Dehydration can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, and an increased core body temperature. A 2% level of dehydration can equal a 10% decrease in performance. It is best to drink hydrating fluids consistently throughout the day. We recommend drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of hydrating (decaffeinated and non alcoholic) fluids per day. Start your workout hydrated by consuming 16-20 ounces of water an hour before your workout. Aim to drink 3-5 ounces every 20 minutes during your workout and then 20 ounces of hydrating fluid for every pound that you lose while working out.

5. Consuming too many sports nutrition products.

While you should be consuming an adequate amount of protein and carbohydrates after a workout to replenish your body and increase muscle mass, most people can do it effectively with real food. Protein bars or shakes are best used for athletes who have a hard time getting enough calories and protein throughout the day due to their intense and lengthy exercise programs, not the average person working out. The same idea goes for sports drinks, unless you are doing a workout longer than 90 minutes then you probably do not need to rehydrate with a sports drink. Sports drinks replenish lost electrolytes and give you energy in the form of sugar, if you are not exercising over 90 minutes, you do not need the additional calories from sugar.

Remember that everyone is different and one person's nutritional needs will not mirror others. If you think you are making one of these mistakes or are not sure why you are not seeing the results you want to see, reach out to us to help you develop an individualized nutrition plan to meet your goals. While exercise is important, 80% of weight loss comes from your nutrition.