Here’s The Health Myth That Even Fit People Believe
One of the first principles people learn about fitness, weight loss and overall health is the idea that a calorie is a calorie no matter how you look at it. Therefore, the balance of how many calories you consume and expend determines whether you lose, gain or maintain your current body weight. It seems pretty elementary, logical, and therefore believable. But it’s not that simple.
Diet and exercise do not cancel one another out. This means that when you choose to eat junk food, a tough workout isn’t going to balance out your poor nutrition. It also means that eating after exercise doesn’t cancel out the calorie burn you just accomplished.
Don’t worry, we’ll explain.
Binging On Junk And Trying To Burn It Off Later
You might be doing your calorie math correctly here, but it’s critical to consider the nutritional value of your food as well. Your body needs whole, balanced nutrition to fuel your workouts, so if you try to negate crappy eating habits with longer bouts on the treadmill, you’re actually increasing the stress put on your body by double (and not in a good way).
Wear and tear occur easier and more frequently, it’s harder to recover, and you ultimately end up weaker rather than stronger. In fact, the more active you are, the more important proper nutrition becomes — not less. So don’t look at running or CrossFit as a way to justify a nightly cocktail habit or pizza splurge.
Avoiding Eating Post Workout To Hold Onto Sweat Gains
When you’ve just finished a solid session at the gym, the last thing you want to do is skip the crucial post-workout meal even if your mind is telling you that you’re just ingesting all the calories you just burned off. It’s important to understand that this new nutrition serves a different purpose. While you likely just depleted glucose stores in your muscles and burned off some storage fat, these new calories entering the body work toward fueling your recovery from the work you just completed. (Put simply, they don’t just go right to your fat cells.) Without this nutrition, you can’t actually maintain muscle mass or a healthy metabolism, so you end up not doing yourself any favors.
These two truths function as the two different sides of the same healthy coin. You can’t fuel the body poorly and get away with it during exercise, and you can’t deprive it of fuel once you’ve exercised and expect to feel good. It’s a finely-tuned balance of your body chemistry and consuming healthy food consistently is the only way anything positive is going to come from your workout efforts.