There’s a common mindset of “I work out – so I can eat and drink freely”.
Whilst this may seem like a logical thought process, it actually doesn’t work (not if you’re serious about your health and fitness).
The main problem with this way of thinking is that usually those who often think like this will opt to eat and drink the foods that are the worst for them. Think junk food and calorie laden alcoholic drinks.
Often, whilst you know these foods are high in calories and fats, it’s not always easy to work out exactly what they contain. This makes it much harder to track your diet.
Of course, if you’re enjoying these types of things occasionally, it’s not going to make a huge difference (the idea is that you should eat well 80% of the time and the remaining 20% shouldn’t have much of an effect). But if takeaway is a regular item on your menu you risk undoing all the good work you do when you workout.
There’s only so much you can realistically work out – and so many calories you can burn on a regular basis. Typically, the average male will be eating between 2000 – 2500 calories per day, dependent on health and fitness goals.
If you’re adding a few alcoholic drinks to your daily intake, this can increase your calorie intake by anywhere between 500 – 1000 calories, maybe more. In this case you’d need to be burning up to an additional 1000 calories per workout or cutting that many calories of normal food just to keep even.
Cutting down on your usual diet plan to accommodate for more unhealthy items isn’t the best idea, as you risk losing out on vital nutrients and won’t give your body the proper energy sources it needs for you to workout properly.
We’ve talked a lot about calories, but that’s not the only thing of importance here. What we eat has a big impact on how the body functions. So you need to be aiming to eat good stuff that will actually benefit you and not just taste good.
For example, many junk foods are high in sugar but low in anything nutritional. They can cause insulin levels to rise which affects how calories are stored. Rather than using this extra energy efficiently, the body will respond to high insulin levels by going into fat storage mode making it much harder to maintain a healthy weight. Similarly, the fats and carbs found in junk foods will do nothing to keep your energy levels up so you’re less likely to perform as well in the gym.
Exercise is important for your body and getting into the routine of regular exercise is a great habit, however to gain the maximum benefit you also need to be careful with what you eat. Opt for nutritional food which will actually give you energy and nutrients. As mentioned, eat right 80% of the time and treat yourself the remaining 20% to keep the results of your good habits consistent.