Whether you earn your living working up a sweat, or just squeeze in workouts when you aren’t busy running around after your kids, it’s easy to fall prey to eating errors that unintentionally hold you back from getting the most out of your workouts. And especially with the holidays around the corner, it’s very important to set yourself on the right path if you want to avoid gaining holiday weight.
Dr. Felicia Stoler—registered dietitian, health fitness specialist, and author– is going over four common missteps, and how to correct them to reap the rewards of your hard work.
1. You eat too little fat. Despite many recent recommendations to include good fats at every meal, many people remain fat phobic. But the truth is, getting enough fat is a smart strategy for both sports nutrition and weight control, because fat helps you feel fuller longer; boosts antioxidant absorption, which in emerging research is related to leanness; and ups metabolic rate, to help you burn more calories. Cutting back too much can result in fatigue, chronic hunger, irritability and more.
2. Not eating after a workout because you’re afraid to “eat back” the calories you just burned. Working out takes a toll on your body, and the recovery is important to mend muscles, boost metabolism and make you more toned and fit. So while a good hard workout isn’t a license to sit down to a big plate of pasta, or eat dessert every night, you should be eating something afterwards, with a goal of delivering the nutrients your body needs to properly recover.
3. Eating the wrong protein or at the wrong time during your workout routine. Today, we’ve got the choice of plant proteins … milk proteins … isolates … whey. Most people would benefit from using whey concentrate. To build muscle, choose whey isolate because it’s got a higher amount of protein. Some protein products have added sugar and artificial sweeteners. A better choice is products that sweeten with stevia. It’s also important to eat protein throughout the entire day, not just slam a protein shake after your workout.
4. Using a sports drink when you don’t really need one. If you sweat heavily, work out for more than 90 minutes, or exercise in hot, humid conditions, reaching for a sports drink rather than plain water is a smart way to keep hydrated, stay fueled and replace the electrolytes lost in sweat. But if you’re exercising for less than an hour and a half, in a climate-controlled gym, plain water should be fine. Plus, just one 20 oz bottle means consuming a surplus on 35 grams of sugar!
Registered dietitian nutritionist Felicia Stoler is heavily involved with the area of sports nutrition. Among her many sports-related certifications and affiliations: She is an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) – Fellow, a Certified Health Fitness Specialist and serves on the Sports Nutrition Advisory Board. Since 2004, she has served as a governor-appointee on the New Jersey Council for Physical Fitness and Sports.
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