Who doesn’t love that after workout feeling? You’re sweaty, in a terrific mood, and know you kicked some butt that day. You know you work hard at the gym, but you feel like your progress might be taking forever; this could be dependent on how you treat the rest of your day after you workout. I’ve learned a whole lot throughout my fitness journey from myself and from previous coaches; who were there when I competed in my bikini show. Let me tell you; there is a lot to learn when it comes to everything related to fitness and nutrition. The learning never stops! If you’re not a huge fitness guru and you want to lose weight, but you’re not any seeing results, this could be because of your post workout routine! I put together a guide of things NOT to do after you kill your workout.
Pre and post workout nutrition plays a huge role in your progress, catch up on this blog post when you’re done reading this one. Everything You Need To Know About Pre/Post Workout Nutrition.
You Indulge Too Often With “Treat Meals”
Eating treat meals after a workout can be great for you if you workout REALLY hard. After training you have an increase in insulin, which means your body is more effective at driving those carbs to your muscle instead of “storing fat”. If you’re lifting 2lb weights and staring into space as you lift, that “treat meal” won’t do the same as if you were tiring out your body as hard as you could.
Also, eating unhealthy meals every time you’re done a workout shouldn’t be a reward for going to the gym. Having it a couple times a week after the gym still isn’t good for you. Yes, you worked out. However, we tend to over estimate what we’ve burned off at the gym. The calories we’ve actually lost, might not be enough for you to lose weight; and then dumping a big mac combo on top of that; and you simply won’t be losing any weight at all.
Learn to treat yourself once a week, that way you will actually enjoy it. I know that when I have unplanned cheat meals, I feel blah, but what makes it worse is that I wasn’t even looking forward to it. But, having a cheat meal once a week; usually on Friday, is the best for me, as I know I’ve smashed my week with amazing workouts and nutrition; so it’s something I look forward to.
You Wait A Couple Hours To Eat
Post workout nutrition is really important for your body and the muscles you just tore apart by working them out hard. Eating after a workout is crucial for recovery. Your body rebuilds glycogen stores and repairs and regrows those muscle proteins, which is why eating after will help them do their job even quicker.
I don’t believe that you need to eat the second you leave the gym because you have to walk home, take the bus, etc, so don’t stress about not having food on you; but try to at least eat between 30 mins – 2 hours after. I do try to get my post workout snack and shake down when I get home. The quicker you get it down the quicker you can recover your body and eat your next meal. 🙂 ALWAYS have protein afterwards. It helps with your recovery as well, which will help build your muscles and repairs those muscle tissues. To help you recover, read Everything You Need To Know About Pre/Post Workout Nutrition, which will give you some post workout meal ideas.
You Reach For Sports Drinks & Vitamin Water
Do you drink a lot of sports drinks and even vitamin water? Have you ever checked the sugar intake on those? Ya, you really should. These drinks are loaded with sugar, which will also kill your gym progress. It’s unfortunate that drinks that are marketed as something to have during physical activity have as much sugar in them as a Coke. If you need to replenish any electrolytes you can buy your own powder for this, however you can just drink plain water and you’ll be fine. Hydration is major when it comes to your day to day life! So drink up my friends!
If you want to see exactly how much sugar are in these drinks read How Much Sugar Are You Actually Consuming? I took out my scale and weighed the amount of sugar listed on the packages. You’ll be surprised!
You Ignore The Nutritional Facts On Your Protein Bar
Just because it’s a protein bar doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you. A lot of them contain endless amounts of sugar, fat and carbs. While you can have good carbs, fats and some sugar from honey oats, etc, a lot of these bars are jam packed with unhealthy ingredients. Instead, you could just have a bowl of oatmeal with some honey in it for more of a healthier snack than a store bought protein bar. Always check the nutritional facts alongside the ingredients. Some bars use something called “sugar alcohol’ which is a sweetener that they use to make the bar look “better” for you, but it’s not; hence why you might feel bloated or still really hungry after a “protein bar”.
You Can’t Resist The Smoothie Bar
Some gyms have a smoothie bar and we all think it’s so convenient and great! What’s not to love about grabbing a smoothie and walking home with your protein shake. YUM. These shakes are delicious, not going to lie, but these should be considered a “TREAT,” not a post workout snack or a “healthy protein shake.” Whether you want to admit it or not, these shakes are loaded with so much sugar and it’s not just sugar from the fruit. They usually use juice and depending on where you go, frozen yogurt! Frozen yogurt is my go-to treat at night and I never consider it to be healthy because it’s not! It may be healthier than actual ice cream, but to get it every single time after your workout is just really unnecessary, especially when you have fitness goals.
Let’s take Booster Juice for example. I haven’t gone there in years, but the smoothies were delicious and they even have added protein powder which was amazing. I always thought Booster Juice was healthy…but boy was I wrong. They have a smoothie there called “Bananas-A-Whey”. It’s made with bananas, pineapple, skim milk, vanilla frozen yogurt and whey protein. Your calories are 350. Protein 28 grams. Carbs 55 grams. Fat 1 gram, and 45 grams of sugar! We know that it’s not all coming from natural fruit. Chapmans Vanilla frozen yogurt has 14 grams of sugar for only half a cup! So most likely they would be scooping more than half a cup in your regular size shake, which means half of that sugar is from “frozen yogurt’.
I was skimming through some other shakes on their website and some had 65 grams of sugar in one shake. You can make your own delicious protein shake, which will give you more nutrient benefits and be more filling. You can add oatmeal, your own fruit and know exactly how much you’re adding, peanut butter, pumpkin pie spice mix and more. Read 100% Clean Homemade Mass Gainer Shakes for some shake examples. You can use these recipes for yourself and if you don’t want the high amount of calories due to cutting, you can just add less! 🙂
Thinking “Less Food” is better
Unfortunately on the flip side, there are people out there thinking that they had a great workout therefore I’m going to “eat less” because then I can burn more fat or lose weight quicker. No, no, no… Your body needs you to eat! Obviously good foods, but before and after a workout your body needs that fuel for energy and to repair those muscles. I don’t know about you, but not eating before a workout makes me feel weaker and not to mention I feel more tired. It’s crazy how GOOD and effective FOOD is for YOU! Having even a banana and a shake before a workout gives you more energy to smash your gym sesh. Don’t cut a crazy amount of calories or think I’m going to eat less today because I worked out, so I’ll lose more fat. It doesn’t work that way.
Instead listen to your body. If you feel bloated from a fake protein bar, maybe switch up your foods. If your body loves the way oatmeal makes you feel, then keep it in your meal routine. People are so afraid of carbs and fats, but if only you ate more clean carbs and fats then you wouldn’t have to be so uptight about it all.
You Booze It Up
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself with a glass of wine every once in awhile. However, if you’re drinking a couple glasses per night, you may be slowing down your fitness progress. You can add up to 500 calories or more just on drinks! Alcohol can definitely have a crap ton of calories and depending on what you drink, sugar! I honestly can’t go home from a workout and have wine. After a workout I have more motivation to eat and drink clean.
Relying On Supplements Too Much
Supplements can be great, but they can also have the wrong effect on someone. Just like how people give in to those “fit teas” people also think by taking this “muscle gaining” powder I’m going to look shredded. They spend all this money and time to be disappointed in the end because if you could look like the hulk just by taking a certain supplement, I’m sure more people would be jacked!
At the end of the day you need to put in work and eat more protein instead of always relying on drinking supplements. Your food intake should be the number one place where you get all of your nutrients from , not supplements. And all those supplements may work a tad, but in order for them to help you along your journey, YOU need to kick butt in the gym and eat right. People think steroids are easy and you can look insane, and while that may be true, the bodybuilders who use steroids still need to put in the time and work with their workouts and meals! Nothing is as easy as just taking a supplement and waiting on the couch for results. Just like Britney Spears says “You gotta work b*tch”!
You Don’t Rest
People always think that bigger and more is always better when that’s not the case. After your workout you’re thinking about your workout for tomorrow. However you need at least 2-3 rest days depending on how hard you’re going. Resting is actually really important because those days is where your body grows and of course focuses on recovery. Always take the time to let your body, mind and muscles take a break. Hangout with friends, loved ones, be active outside, etc. Learn to take a break and actually enjoy it!
You Skip The Stretching
Stretching is something I used to lack a lot until I noticed how tight my hamstrings were and how my neck and back would be really stiff. After stretching and doing more mobility I feel looser and better. Using a lacrosse ball works wonders! You can really dig into your muscles and help release tension. Always try to stretch before and after your workout. It’s hard to get the full range of motion if you’re tight, which can cause you to have the wrong form during an exercise.
Thanks for taking the time to read. I understand that It can all be so intense with trying to learn everything. Take it one step at a time and keep it balanced. A balanced workout routine with balanced eating habits can really get you far in your journey. It’s always the small things that add up, so keep on doing what you’re doing or tweak a few things, and you will see more results.
Keep on going! <3