People work out for a wide variety of reasons.
The real question here is, do you work out for the right reason? Quite often people say things like “I worked out today so I can eat half of this cake”, “I worked out today so I can drink tonight”, or “I’ll just have these five chocolate bars; it’s fine as long as I work out today.” I’ve justified unhealthy habits using exercise before, and it has affected me negatively. I hope that I can help you to avoid those unhealthy habits and work out to better your overall wellness.
Don’t Waste Your Work Out
If someone told you that they would give you $100 right now, but as soon as they hand it to you, you have to catch it on fire, how would you feel?
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that a little splurging every now and again is going to completely ruin your workout. A piece of cake or some ice cream for birthday parties is totally reasonable, and so are a lot of other mini cheat meals. However, if you are doing this every time you hit the gym, are you really benefitting?
Most people struggle to stay consistent in the gym in the first place, and it’s easy to understand why this is so hard. You are essentially tricking your brain into thinking that it’s okay to push your body to it’s limits in order to achieve a goal almost every single day. That’s why sticking to a solid fitness plan takes such hard work and dedication and most people can’t manage to do so.
This is also a primary reason for the existence of this page. You should be motivated to live healthy for reasons other than that piece of cake or couple beers after the workout, and hopefully these articles are offering you some of that motivation.
By taking in unhealthy food and drink directly after your workout you are directly hindering your bodies ability to recover. One of the leading purposes of working out is to metabolize fat which can translate to healthy blood sugar levels, strong hearts, and helping your body naturally prevent disease in the future.
However, multiple studies show that eating junk food can counteract working out through negative effects on your metabolism. In fact, one specific study involving 12 college-aged healthy men showed that eating a primarily junk food diet for just 5 days resulted in a reduction of the muscles’ ability to oxidize glucose after a meal. This can lead to diabetes down the road.
Does the question above seem valid yet? If you are one of the many people wasting your workouts, what can you do to change these habits? Do you want to change these habits?
4 Ways To Stop Rewarding Yourself With Junk Food
1. Recognize it. Sometimes it’s hard to know what foods are junk foods. By studying up on foods that are nutritiously invaluable you will be more prone to understand that what you are putting in your body is maybe not the best for you. Recognizing foods for what they really are (high in refined carbohydrates, high in saturated or trans-fat, or containing an overwhelming amount of bad simple sugar) can allow you to make conscious decisions against eating them, especially right after a workout when you feel like you just conquered the world.
2. Get rid of it. This one is easy. It may be painful at first, but after you revamp your pantry you will be more than happy with the results you see due to diet change. Throw all of that nasty stuff in your pantry in the garbage and don’t purchase any more at the grocery store.
3. Keep track of it. Keeping track of your diet can do more than you think. If you saw that you were eating an alarming amount of junk food daily, or even weekly, would you start to feel a little bit guilty? Most likely the answer is yes. If you write down every junk food item you eat throughout the day, you will be more inspired to cross things off this list as time goes on. Holding yourself accountable for bad habits is a key way to break any bad habit including impulse unhealthy eating.
4. Replace it with healthy, nutritious snacks. Sometimes your body may end up lacking sugar or salts after an intense work out. This is totally understandable and can actually be a driving force behind your urge to eat unhealthy foods. You’ll be happy to know that there are a number of ways to replace your junk food cravings with healthy sugars and salts. Take in some fruit; freeze dried fruits are great for carrying with you to eat right after a workout. Dark chocolate can be a great sugar replacement as well. Also, you can eat a small handful of lightly salted almonds right after your workout to replenish salts lost during intense sweating. That, or blend all these things up in a NutriBullet as soon as you get home.
How You Will Benefit In The Long Run
Eating nutritious foods after the gym doesn’t just benefit you in terms of short term recovery, it directly contributes to a long-lasting, energetic life. Just a few quick examples of the effects of a wholesome, nutritious diet are:
- A dramatically decreased resting heart rate. Why make your heart work harder than it already does to keep you alive? It’s like anything with an estimated useful life, the more times it cycles, the faster it wears out.
- Decreased blood pressure. This reduces your risk of stroke later in life. High blood pressure puts unnecessary stress on your blood vessels and can lead to numerous health problems for old you.
- Maximized oxygen uptake. The ability your body has to take in oxygen is limited when you eat terrible foods and ignore good exercise habits. This means that you can’t consume as much oxygen, starving your cells for one of their most vital nutrients.
- Increased lactate threshold. What this means is that you can naturally increase your muscles ability to work out for long periods of time without accumulating lactic acid. There are many negative effects of lactic acid build up, so muscle stamina is important.
- You look damn good. If living much longer and having more strength and energy aren’t incentive enough. You will probably start to shed the unnecessary pounds. This leads to a slimmer face, vibrant and clear skin, and great muscle definition. So at the very least, you start to achieve that overall aesthetic that you’ve been going for.
If these tips have helped encourage you to eat better after the gym, or pursue a healthier lifestyle in general, please leave a comment below and let’s talk about it. We sincerely hope that reading this article has helped you realize your goals and start being more mindful of your body as you embark on your health and wellness journey.