Don’t give up! The 4 nutrition reasons your workout isn’t working out

You’ve been lifting, running, pulling and sweating but still not seeing the results you were hoping for? This could be why...

Racha Adib
Racha Adib - Special to Al Arabiya News
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You’ve been lifting, running, pulling and sweating but still not seeing the results you were hoping for? The problem may not be in your workout. Many experts swear by the 70/30 rule which says that obtaining a healthy body is 70 percent nutrition and 30 percent exercise. Although the numbers may differ from one individual to another, getting the balance of both is key to nailing that body you’re looking for. While you might be putting effort in the nutrition department, you may still be falling prey to some eating errors.

Here are four common dietary mistakes you may be making and what you can do to fix them.

Infographic: The Do's and Dont's of dieting and working out

Infographic: The Do's and Dont's of dieting and working out
Infographic: The Do's and Dont's of dieting and working out

Mistake #1: Doing a heavy workout on an empty stomach

Indeed exercising on an empty stomach can use up more fat as a source of fuel since your sugar levels are running low. Low intensity exercises, such as brisk walking can usually be handled on an empty stomach.

However, if you’re going for a more intense workout such as running, weight lifting, or burpees, this strategy could backfire on you. The heavier your workout becomes, the higher the chances you’ll be burning lean muscle mass for energy hence defeating your purpose. It’ll also affect how you feel during your workout and make you tire faster. So if you’re heading to an intense workout, it’s important to fuel up on easy-to-digest carbs that are low in fiber and fat. Good examples of pre-workout meals are white bread with white cheese, yogurt with bananas, or a bowl of cold cereal with low fat milk.

Mistake #2: Using a sports drink during your workout when you don’t need one

Too often I see people on the treadmill trying to burn those calories only to drink them back through sports drinks. In just one 350ml bottle of sports drinks there are around 80 calories and 21g of sugar, which is equivalent to how much you would typically burn walking on a treadmill for 15 minutes.

On the other hand, if you are going for an endurance workout that lasts for more than 90 minutes, or if you’re exercising in hot humid conditions and you’re sweating profusely, then yes sports drinks can be a good idea. If you can’t stop to eat, sports drinks can replace the electrolytes you’re losing and fuel your workout until the end.

Mistake #3: Not eating after a workout so it doesn’t go to waste

While it’s true you did put a lot of effort during your work out, but skipping your post workout meal will not make you lose weight faster. In fact, having a proper balanced meal can improve your metabolism and reduce recovery time. It’s essential to heal from your training by delivering important nutrients your body needs such as electrolytes, protein, and carbohydrates. Seeking a nutrition expert’s advice can help determine the exact nutrients you need for your body.

Mistake #4: Eating only protein after a workout

Indeed protein is a key recovery nutrient after a workout as it helps slow down muscle breakdown and increase muscle building, the active tissue in your body that determines your metabolism. But it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Balancing it out with carbohydrates is as important because they help replete your muscle’s glycogen levels, which serve as a primary source of energy. Without proper fuel, you’ll most likely be slower in your next workout and won’t be able to lift as much weight, hence affecting the outcome.

The proper post-workout meals consists of good carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, whole grain toast, and brown rice combined with lean protein such as eggs, chicken breast, turkey, fish, or low fat dairy.

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