If you’ve been exercising hard and eating healthily but can’t shift those stubborn pounds, it could be because your making some simple slip-ups.
The decisions you make around your workout are crucial, so make sure you’re fuelling and refuelling your body correctly.
Bethan Hamilton, registered associate nutritionist at Vega, shared the three most common post-workout blunders.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Online, the health expert also revealed how you can avoid making these classic mistakes.
1. Don’t forget the importance of hydration
This first tip may seem obvious, but surprisingly, many of us forget to properly hydrate after a workout.
Rehydration is important to regulate our body temperature, avoid cramping, and help to ensure we don’t feel dizzy after exercise – all common symptoms of dehydration.
We will all need different amounts of water after a workout, depending on how much we sweat and how long we exercise for.
A simple way to work out how much water you may need to take on after exercise is to figure out how much water you’ve lost.
To do this, you can weigh yourself before and after your workout. Then, try and drink up to 1.5 litres of water for every kg you have lost.
2. Choose the right protein (and the right amount of protein)
A common post-workout mistake can be consuming too much (or too little) protein and perhaps not choosing the best protein for your personal needs.
As a general rule of thumb, everyone needs approximately 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight per day.
Depending on the exercise you are doing, this may increase to 1-2g of protein.
Additionally, your body cannot process more than 20-30g of protein in a single sitting, so reaching for that protein with more than 40g per serving is a pretty pointless exercise.
When choosing the right protein for you, a key characteristic to look out for is whether it’s a complete blend of protein.
Avacodo – includes monosaturated fatty acids that are more likely to be used as slow burning energy than stored as body fat
My personal preference is a plant-based protein. These can be more sustainable to produce than animal protein – so as an added bonus you’re helping the environment.
If, like me, you are opting for a plant-based protein, this should not only be complete, but ideally multisource i.e. more than one source of plant-based protein in the blend.
This ensures you are getting a good protein profile with all the essential protein building blocks for your body. My go-to is Vega Clean Protein, which is a complete, multisource blend of premium plant-based protein made from pea, hemp, alfalfa and pumpkin.
If you’re seeking additional nutrients with your protein blend, I’d recommend Vega Essentials Nutritional Powder. Made from a blend of real fruits and vegetables, this is high in 16 essential vitamins and minerals.
3. Remember to eat for your workout
That ‘I must eat immediately after I’ve worked out’ window is less crucial than it used to be.
As long as you are making sure to get in enough protein, carbs and fat, based on your exercise throughout the day, all will be okay.
However, there are a couple of watch-outs when it comes to balancing your food intake with your exercise regime:
Waiting too long
If you haven’t planned anything to snack on after your workout when you get hungry, you may be more likely to make a poor decision with your snack choice.
Therefore, plan ahead. If you know you are exercising in the morning and heading straight to work, pack some oat cakes and peanut butter in your bag to snack on mid-morning. Or have a banana and smoothie ready to grab and go in the fridge at home.
Eat every three hours – Passing on breakfast will send your body into starvation mode, meaning your body starts to store everything you’ve eaten as fat, and you’re midsection is the first to suffer the consequences
Overestimating your workout
Try and be realistic about the energy you will have used during exercise as your diet will play a key role in reaching your goals.
Focus your diet around nutrient dense foods and eat a balance of protein (like lentils and beans), fats (olive oil and avocado), and fibre (hello veggies, whole grains and fruit).