More and more of us are working out in the quest for a better body. In a waking week of just over 100 hours, we might train for 3 hours.
So yet, why do we think we are entitled to a leaner body when just over 3% of our time is spent exercising? Has the penny not yet dropped? It’s what we do in the other 97% of our time that is going to determine our body composition, ie, what we eat and drink!
Let me give you a rundown on the common pitfalls I see every day that sabotage our training regimes.
Eating more as a reward for training
Entitlement, compensation, reward… call it what you want, but most people compensate for any calories burned by eating more.
Most people grossly overestimate how many calories they have burned during exercise.
Many years ago I trained and ran marathons and became fatter instead of leaner, as I hadn’t a clue that I was merely scratching at the surface in terms of burning off the calories that I was eating. I thought because I was running for miles each week that I could eat whatever I wanted – big mistake, lesson learned!
Dieting to a deadline
How many of you dropped calories drastically low in order to fit comfortably into that dress for the party, wedding or special occasion, but then went back to your old ways of eating and gained back all your weight, plus some more?
We all know that severe dieting without exercise results in the loss of fat and muscle. When the weight is put back on upon resumption of the normal diet, the lean muscle loss is replaced with fat.
This results in worse body composition than when they started and a higher incidence of heart disease. From my experience the secret lies in figuring out a way of eating that allows you to reduce calories without going hungry.
You can do this by basing your meals around protein, vegetables and healthy fats. Furthermore, doing the correct exercise helps preserve your muscle so you keep your metabolism high.
Eating high carb foods pre, during & after exercise
I have lost count of the number of articles I’ve read that maintain eating simple carbs like bread or bagels, and consuming sports drinks before training give you energy. Let me tell you the problems about doing this.
Firstly, these high carb snacks pack in high calories, negating any benefit of your calorie burn during your workout.
Secondly, during exercise your body switches to burning off the carbs and your fat burning mechanisms are suppressed.
Moral of the story? Avoid refined and processed carbs entirely. Have your higher carb whole foods like brown rice and potatoes for days when you train REALLY HARD, have them after you train, or later in the day.
Non-exercise activity is decreased
How many times have you circled the supermarket car park in order to land that elusive parking space closer to the front door?
We perform less spontaneous exercise when we take on a greater exercise load. For example, when older women started a 4-day-a-week exercise program they reduced non-exercise activity by 150 calories because they were more sedentary.
Most women reported that they found themselves driving instead of walking, taking the lift instead of the stairs. Get up and walk instead of sitting around. All those movements throughout the day add up to a sizeable calorie burn over the week.
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