We all want it- that flawless picturesque body you see on billboards. Yet no one wants to spend more time working out only to feel disappointed when you step on the scale – or even worse-you may end up spraining a muscle. Rather than overexerting yourself at the gym, try to find out what you’ve been doing wrong that might be keeping you from achieving that perfect body.
Below is a list of 8 common fitness mistakes that most of us are guilty of. I am here to teach you how to avoid them:
One of the biggest debates in the fitness world today is whether you should work out on an empty stomach or not. Here is expert advice to dispel all the myths you may have come across.
You have probably heard that working out on an empty stomach can help you to lose weight but this is not necessarily true. For example, when you skip breakfast to go jogging early in the morning, your insulin levels are at their lowest.
Glucagon, the hormone responsible for breaking down glycogen into glucose will be at its peak and during this period, your body will use reserve fat to fuel energy.
Since fat metabolism is dependent on carbohydrate levels within the body, when there is a low supply of carbohydrates, fat metabolism is affected. When this occurs, your body will tire faster as exercising becomes more strenuous thus, it is likely that you will want to end your workout session earlier; this ultimately results in fewer burnt calories.
My verdict is that you always grab a healthy snack before working out!
We love energy drinks; it’s the perfect way to get a kick start on your way to the gym. However, quite often we neglect the most important beverage for weight loss while overindulging in others.
Drinking adequate water will not only help you to improve your health but it will also push you closer towards your weight loss goals. Water helps to increase your body’s metabolism and remove waste making it easier for you to burn fat.
Start drinking one ounce of water for every pound today; if you weigh 130 lbs you should be drinking 130 ounces of water on a daily basis.
Water is the best appetite suppressant and its available right from your kitchen tap – for those of us with filters. Drinking a glass of water before every meal will make you feel fuller and reduce your chances of eating too much.
If you hate the taste of water, you can always add a hint of lemon.
The amount of calories you burn on a daily basis is dependent on your body’s metabolic rate, body weight and your activity level. The human body use calories to fuel energy in order to perform even the most mundane tasks, from texting to major biological functions.
We all have a specific amount of calories that we should consume daily to maintain a fixed body weight- the fewer you consume, the greater your chances of losing weight; this is referred to as a caloric deficit.
There is a popular rule-of-thumb, which states that a daily caloric deficit of 3,500 calories will help you to shed 1lb. This does not mean you should cut off all calories from your daily meals. Once you have determined how much calories your body requires in order to maintain your current weight you can start setting your own caloric objectives of losing weight and staying healthy.
You can use the BMI Calculator among others to determine your body’s caloric needs based on your sex, activity level, weight and height.
Skipping your warm up sessions will only hurt you in the end. By warming up you are increasing your heart rate, range of motion and the neural drive of your muscles. This will increase your ability to lift weights and minimize inconsistencies in your workout sessions. Stretching will increase blood circulation throughout the body, reducing the possibility of muscle strain.
Therefore, you should always ensure that you warm-up for at least 10 minutes before you start lifting the ‘big weights.’
Burning calories takes a lot of work and it’s essential that you replenish your glycogen levels after spending hours at the gym. However, given that your aim is to lose weight, you should avoid scoffing down a Snickers bar and gobbling down a gallon of Gatorade after a hard day’s work at the gym.
Sure, that sounds delicious and energizing but we’re all familiar with the saying, ‘no pain, no gain’. Research have shown that most people consume more calories after their gym sessions- and then head on home for seconds at the dinner table! Don’t let this be you.
If your trainer is the type that spends too much time focusing on core stability and pushing you to do too much sit-ups and crunches, it’s time for a change. Sure, this will help you to improve the superficial area of your body –‘the glorious six-pack’ – but what about the rest. In fact, sit-ups will not help you to achieve core stability you need to exercise efficiently.
You will have to work harder to strengthen and flatten your stomach by focusing on building the transverse abdominus. Pilates is the most common technique used to target the abdominal region; however, your trainer might suggest others.
This is one of the most common fitness mistakes. Yes, it’s easier to do two laps around the pool and lift a few 5kg weights but your body may be screaming for a change. The human body can easily adapt to physical stress. Therefore, if your get too complacent with your current workout regime and fail to increase the amount of laps you take around the pool and the amount of weights you lift, you will hit a plateau. In other words you will not see any improvements.
How is your back doing? ‘Well actually, it felt sore while lifting weights at the gym last night but I am going to head on in tonight to see how it goes…’ if this applies to you, it’s time to take a night off.
Exerting your body will not give you the results you are looking for, and furthermore muscle cramps are your body’s way of saying ‘you’ve been spending too much time at the gym’. Ignoring it will only cause more damage- they might become permanent! Instead, give your body the rest it needs to recharge for a better session at the gym.
It’s winter! One of the best things about this season is that it gives you enough time to prepare for an amazing summer; rocking stylish swimwear on the beach and showing off your new body.
Make note of all the things you’ve been doing wrong from the list above and start making the change today. Essentially your goal is to balance your workout routine with your daily habits to achieve a higher level of fitness.
So, we’ve looked at how important good nutrition is before your workout – it helps store energy so that you perform at your best. However, the post-workout meal is just as important, as it helps your recovery, which can lead to consistent training. Honestly, taking care of your nutrition after a workout will be very noticeable – you WILL feel better and recover more quickly. Continue reading
You need a certain calorie intake if you want to build lean muscle, and you need to have a good muscle workout regimen going on. While you do need lots of calories for your workouts and tissue repair, you need to eat a certain combination of calories so that you actually gain muscle.
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are the energy source that you mainly use during your workouts. It stores as glycogen in your muscles, and is used when you need short bursts of power. The more you work out, the more glycogen you need. When you run out, you’ll feel sluggish and your muscle contractions will no longer be fueled. Athletes who do plenty of strength-training exercises need lots of carbs if they’re going to build muscles well.
The amount of carbs you need depends on how long and how intense your training sessions are. If you do a normal workout that’s under an hour, you’ll only need two grams per pound daily. If you train for over two hours, you may need three or four grams of carbs per pound. For the average male, you’ll need 400-600 grams per day, if you do strength-training workouts that are intense. Your carb requirements depend on the workout and your body size.
No matter how intense your workout, you’ll need some protein as soon as possible after you exercise. Protein builds and repairs your muscle tissue that hard exercise breaks down. It’s the basic building block of muscles, so you’ll want to have more protein if you want to see results during your strength training. Despite this, many athletes overestimate their actual needs.
The USDA says that the normal person needs 0.4 grams of protein per pound daily. For the athlete, you need 0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound daily, and not exceed a pound. If you weigh 200 pounds, you’ll need 128-164. You can get this protein by eating plenty of lean meats such as fish and chicken, consuming dairy, and eating fruits, legumes, and nuts. Protein shakes and bars are also a convenient way to add more protein to your diet.
Just because you’re told to avoid it, doesn’t mean you don’t need any. Your intake of fat should consist of 30% of your calories, and it should come from healthier fat such as lean meats, fish, olive oil, seeds, nuts, and avocados.
You should always drink after exercise to replace the fluids that you may have lost. Drink about two cups two hours before you work out. Drink four to eight ounces during your workout for every 15 minutes. Consume 16 ounces after your workout. For a more accurate measure, drink 16 ounces per pound that you’ve lost during your workout.
Consuming protein and carbs after you exercise so that you restore your glycogen and help fuel your muscles. Combining four grams of carbs per one gram of protein is ideal. It allows you for more stored glycogen by doubling your insulin response. However, too much protein can do the opposite. If you need more help, talk to your nutritionist or doctor for more information. This article is not intended for professional medical advice.
If you’re a runner, you should know what and when you need to eat. However, your body has different plans. It may make you hungry when you don’t need to be, which should be during training, or it will not be hungry after training. Because of our lives your muscles, stomach and brain are usually all over the place.
For instance, running early can cause fatigue later on when you’re working. But if you train midday you may feel too hungry to do so. Don’t get us started on doing it after work, which may cause you to eat dinner too close to bedtime.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can sync up that body of yours so you can get the balance you so deserve.
There is debate as to if you should eat if you run during the morning. Let’s shut this debate down by saying that you do need to eat. Your body needs some energy to help you with the run, and your entire body needs those nutrients. This has been proven by studies. Eating before a run can give you more endurance. Your exercise will be less strenuous and flow better compared to those who eat beforehand.
There are some exceptions. If you eat too soon before the run, you may get nausea and cramps. Some people get up close to when they need to get to work. However, if you’re an early bird, you should have enough time to do everything before you leave.
If you do eat, munch on some high-carb foods that are low in fat and decent in protein. About 400-800 calories should give enough for your training. Make sure you drink enough water beforehand so that you don’t lose sweat.
These great meals can get you started:
Two pieces of toast with fruit
Cereal with low fat/fat free milk and a slice of fruit
A bagel with low-fat cream cheese
Most of you all will be like this, and won’t have enough time to eat before you leave. With that said, experiment a bit and see what you can digest before training. A few ideas are as follows.
Half a bagel
Half of a carbohydrate drink
One energy gel with some water
If these don’t help, eat a large dinner the night before so you can have some fuel beforehand. Unless you’re doing an extremely long run, you should have enough fuel to run in the morning.
No matter when you wake up, you need calories from protein, carbs and nutrients once you finish with your run. A post-workout meal will give you energy for work, stopping fatigue in its tracks. For best results eat no later than an hour after you train, and include carbs and protein in your diet. A few ideas include a fruit smoothie with some protein powder added to it, eggs on whole-wheat toast and fruit juice or simply leftovers from last night!
If you run during the hours of lunch, you might succumb to hunger. If you eat breakfast at an early time, like six in the morning you haven’t eaten for about six hours. Your energy that breakfast provided is now history and your blood sugar will lower because of it. Don’t give yourself a bigger breakfast, because that may make you feel worse. Instead, make sure you have a small snack ready before you run.
Timing is everything. Eat one hour or up to four before you run. This gives you enough time for food to be converted into energy.
The quantity matters. Depending on your body size and what you eat during breakfast, you should have 100-400 calories.
Content is key. Grab low-fat foods that are high in carbs and nutrients. A few snack ideas include:
There’s a problem with exercising during the lunch hour, and that’s that you have little time to eat lunch. However, you still need fluids and foods to help your brain and body fuel and recover for the rest of the day. Packing a lunch of your own can help, unless you have a place at work where you can eat. Packing your lunch takes little time at all. For a few tips, read down:
Shop for convenient items that take little time to prepare and eat. These include raisins, nuts, cereal bars and yogurt.
Fruit is perfect. Throw in a few fruit pieces in your bag so that you can have nutritious carbs with ease.
Leftovers rock! Grab any food from last night and seal it in a container so you can reheat and eat
Running helps to eliminate stresses that work causes. But, there’s a problem in doing so. Sometimes you’re too hungry or tired to eat. If you do run without eating you’re going to eat everything you can before you can even make your dinner. Or you make dinner too late and go to bed full.
What should you do to avoid this? Simply eat healthy all day so that you won’t have digestive problems that could interfere with your training. This way you’re always fueled and will never have to use “I’m hungry” as an excuse to not run.
In addition, you can eat light meals after your workout so you can recover. This will prevent digestive problems and help you sleep better.
Never skip your breakfast. Consume 500 calories for breakfast. A fruit smoothie made from yogurt, juice, and fruit can help. Cereal with skimmed milk, fruit and nuts can help as well.
Lunch should be your big meal. Include quality proteins like lean beef, chicken, fish or tofu and add whole-grain breads and fruits.
Snacking during the mid-afternoon can help. About three hours before running, eat a piece of fruit or a protein bar, and drink some water to stay hydrated.
Speaking of water, drink more. Drink right after running. Drink as you fix your meal. This will restore the sweat you’ve lost, and will help you to stop eating everything you see.
Moderation is key during dinnertime. According to legend if you eat before bedtime the calories will turn into fat. That’s a lie. You’ll still use that energy as fuel for the next day. But if you eat too much, no matter what time your body will keep the energy as fat. Make healthy choices and keep running.