So you have motivated yourself for weeks, and now finally you get yourself into the gym with your new gear, new shoes, brand new enthusiasm… Well done!
You have managed to get yourself in the gym and do a kick-ass workout!! But…The Big But… What you do immediately after your workout matters as much as the workout itself!
Here are the TOP 5 mistakes that people make after having worked their backsides off in the gym:
1. Using Sports Drinks to rehydrate – This is probably the worst thing you can do for your workout! Having burnt off somewhere between 300 to 500 calories, you will be ingesting those same no. of calories through that one sports drink. Why?? I hear you asking! But I need that drink because I sweated my guts out!
The truth is that these supposedly sports-oriented drinks contain at least 70% of the sugar and salt as the fizzy drinks on the market. If you are looking to replenish your sodium levels, the best way to do it is through drinking clear filtered water with a few slices of lemon to help alkalize your body. Alternatively, coconut water is great for replenishing your sodium levels after sweating it out in the gym.
2. Choosing “Low fat” or “Diet” foods – We reckon we need low-fat foods to help us along the journey to weight loss and muscle gain. Sadly the foods that are advertised Low in fat are the ones that are the worst for you as they are usually high in sugars to make up for the lack of taste.
This is not to say you should go for the high-fat options. This goes to say that you should ideally avoid those processed and packaged foods that say Low Fat. These foods are actually fads and leave you hungrier than before.
Ideally, go for the most natural fats and proteins that you can opt for. Like avocadoes, nuts, seeds, flax seeds, salmon and other naturally occurring foods that give you the maximum boost of healthy fats.
3. Overestimating the number of calories you have burned in the gym – This is the biggest faux pas for new gym-goers. We think we have burned 500 calories and proceed to take in a meal worth 800 calories and hence blowing up the calorie budget all the way to the moon. “But I worked off all those calories..so why can’t I have my latte with a croissant?”
What we need to understand is that we need to focus on Sexy calories rather than the Flabby calories. The ones mentioned above are the Flabby calories that totally negate your hard work in the gym. Instead, opt for Sexy calories that come from plants and lean meats.
Even when eating healthier options, portion control is also important as healthy options also have calories. And in the end, it is all about creating a calorie deficit if you are looking to lose fat percentage and put on muscle.
4. Obsessing over the number on the scales – Many of us jump on to the scales everyday looking for magical changes almost overnight! Come on… how many of us will admit to doing this? All of us 🙂 so here’s the coup. Muscle weighs more than fat. As your body is gradually making the move from fat to muscle, you may not necessarily lose weight but definitely lose the inches.
Focus on your changing body shape and the fact that you fit into smaller dresses or jeans. Stop obsessing about that number on the scale and focus on shedding the fat and building muscle.
5. Skipping a meal – Yes we have all been guilty of this at some stage in our lives. Where we think skipping a meal after a workout is absolutely fine. That way, we may lose more weight.
But the fact is that workouts actually break down your muscles and rebuild them.
To rebuild, you need to have serious amounts of protein. This can be plant or animal protein; however, beware of the commercial protein shakes. They are loaded with extras (sugars and other nasties) that your body definitely does not require.
Ideally, make sure to take a high protein meal within 20 to 30 minutes of your workout to max the benefits. This can be an easy homemade shake made with almond milk, ½ an avocado, 1 tsp of flaxseed and 1 tsp of chia seeds. Give it a good whizz, and off you go. If you are trying to lose weight, this could be a meal replacement option, and if you are looking to put on weight, this could be a little stop-gap option before your actual meal.
Get working and get eating people!!