Four Ways Your Diet Is Ruining Your Workout
You’ve been working hard at the gym. You’re dedicated, and you’ve been putting the time in. Going in several times a week, spending those hours. But…you’re not showing the results all your hard work should have earned you. You’re still struggling to lean out or you’re not seeing gains where you should be. Your recovery time seems longer than it should be, and you struggle to maintain energy consistently throughout your workouts.
Well, as you’ve probably heard many times before, working out is only half the battle when you’re trying to achieve results. Nutrition is essential to your workout, playing a huge part in helping you meet your fitness goals and maintain energy and optimal performance throughout your workout. Here are four ways your diet might be ruining your workout.
Not drinking enough water
You’ve heard time and again how drinking enough water is essential to your body and health. Well, here it is again, because people typically do not prioritize this fact enough. You need to drink enough water to keep your body hydrated and performing adequately. This equates to drinking at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water every day. If you’re working out that day, add in at least an extra 16-20 ounces. This means actual water; juice, energy drinks, and your morning coffee do NOT count. Drinking enough water isn’t just about preventing dehydration. Water supplies your brain and blood with the oxygen and fluids they need to keep you centered and energized, which equates to better focus and less fatigue in the gym. Water also helps keep your joints and muscles lubricated, preventing chances of you developing cramp or sprains.
Avoiding carbs like the plague.
Especially in the past 15 years or so, we’ve been programmed to see all carbs as “evil,” hearing countless horror stories of how white rice will forever keep you looking like a bloated mess. Some are cult-level fanatic about how well they can slash carbs entirely from their diets. Here’s the issue though. If you’re doing any amount of athletic or fitness training, a moderate amount of carbs can actually be good for you, benefitting your workout through muscle development, energy boosting, and workout recovery. When you workout, your body burns through a huge amount of energy in the form of glucose. Once exhausted, your body starts to experience fatigue. Carbs break down into the glucose necessary to keep providing energy to your body, keeping it fueled during workout and promoting muscle repair and recovery post-workout. This doesn’t mean you should go back to loading up on pastas and white rice. Instead, add in good carbs like whole grain, low-sugar breakfast cereal in the morning, or include veggies like sweet potatoes and corn to your diet.
Not eating enough throughout the day.
You’re working hard to burn those calories at the gym. You’re watching what you’re eating -keeping it clean and avoiding excessive amounts of sugar and starch. But, are you making sure to eat enough to fuel your workouts? One of the main issues that pops up for those seeking to meet fitness goals is whether they are consuming enough food to properly supply their bodies with the energy they need. Especially for those looking to slim down, the first impulse is to follow the old adage and eat less. However, this advice is outdated, and doesn’t adequately fulfill what your body needs when you’re putting in work at the gym. Your body needs fuel and energy regardless of what it’s doing, but especially if you’re working out regularly. It needs that extra store of energy to perform its best. By not eating enough, you exhaust your body’s supply of energy, causing it to work harder, not more efficient, and fatigue.
For those looking to build, you will not see much gain by undereating, as your body will not have the adequate nutrients and protein it needs to build. If you’re looking to lose weight, contradictory to belief, starving yourself or undereating can sabotage your ability to lose weight. When you don’t consume enough to fuel your energy expenditures, your body enters “starvation mode,” slowing your metabolism and holding on to more glucose and fat. Instead of focusing on starving yourself, focus on eating clean and breaking up your three meals a day into several smaller meals, preferably eating small servings roughly every three hours. You will not only start to see better results, but you’ll feel more energized throughout the day and during your workout.
Not paying attention to what you’re eating at all.
If you haven’t been paying any attention to what you’re eating, then you need to stop. Buck up, and quit sabotaging the work you’ve been putting at the gym. Like with many things in life, what you put into your body is what you get out of it. If you feed your body garbage, than that’s the type of performance and results you’re going to see from your workout. By not ensuring your body is receiving the proper fuel and nutrients, you deprive your body the proper energy it needs to put forth your best effort at the gym. Your body won’t perform efficiently and you’ll experience fatigue faster, and more frequently. Also, by not consuming the right proportions of fats, sodium, and proteins, your body will not have the right nutrients to see results. If you’re seeking to build, you will not see the gains and definition you’re hoping for. If you are working to get lean, you’ll sabotage your ability to lose that extra weight. Eating healthy has a direct impact on your performance and results. Give your body the clean, nutrient-dense fuel it needs to work like a well-oiled machine.
Working hard in the gym is only half the battle. Matching your workout with a good diet will help you see the results and sustain the energy and performance needed.