1. Eating/Drinking straight after a cardio workout.
There is a fantastic window of opportunity that we have after a workout (especially cardio) where our metabolism is still firing and our fat is being burnt as we cool down. This can be happening for an hour or even more! However, if we eat or drink anything that has calories straight away, the body will stop the fat burning process to break down the food.
For best possible results:
Do your Cardio workout before breakfast when possible, and wait at least 1 hour after finishing your cardio workout before eating. Focus on rehydrating your body and drink lots of water during this time instead.
2. Working out with a really hard intensity all the time.
This sounds like a good thing. I mean, the more you smash yourself in the gym equals more calories burnt and fat lost right? Not always. If you are training harder for longer and more consistently, you may find the stronger your cravings will be. Your body tries to replenish all the Carbohydrate energy burnt during the workout. Your body can also be going into a stress state with intense exercise and while cortisol, the stress hormone, is present in your body there is no hope for fat burning.
Now just to be clear I am not referring to a few sessions per week of a short HIIT or similar session. I am more referring to 60+ mins of intense exercise 4+ times per week. If you are getting results from your workouts then continue with what you are doing. But if you are finding that you are smashing yourself in exercise regularly and not getting weight loss results, try exchanging some of the high-intensity sessions for low to moderate intensity sessions. This might include yoga, swimming, kayaking, SUP, surfing or barefoot walk on the beach.
3. Walking with a Coffee/Juice/Smoothie etc.
Ever catch up with friends for a walk but have a coffee or drink other than water as you are walking? Well, I’m sorry to say but when the body has food or drink to process and metabolise you will not be burning fat at the same time.
If that drink happens to be water, a plain Black Coffee or any type of tea without milk and un-sweetened then you are all good because there are basically no calories/energy inside. But if you’re drinking anything other than the drinks I’ve mentioned above during a walk then try substituting them for just water instead.
4. Using exercise to compensate for a bad diet.
I have seen this time and time again, people who have a poor diet try to make up for it by over-exercising. This approach simply does not work and often It ends up causing more harm than good. Health isn’t just about how we look on the outside, and bad food will cause us bad health no matter how fit we may appear on the outside.
Remember the 80/20 rule? Focusing on your nutrition 80% of the time and just 20% on your exercise will give outstanding results. However, if the equation is reversed and your focus is 80% on Exercise and 20% on Nutrition you can expect little to no long-term results.
5. Too hard too soon.
Once someone has made the decision to start working out after time off, it can be all systems go! This enthusiasm is awesome (not to mention needed to make it bearable) but sometimes we think we can pick up exactly where we left off. This is the fastest way to injury and the fastest way to kill that enthusiasm for getting back your active lifestyle.
A couple of things that you can do to make sure you don’t get caught up in this mistake:
- Don’t be too proud to drop back on intensity level and build back up to where you were and then beyond.
- Stretch before and after workouts. Chances are with time off your muscles are tight and shortened. When they are in this state they are in the most likely position to be torn/injured.
- Set small weekly goals, focus on the small wins and continue to build on them. You’ll be back to your previous intensity in no time.
I know sometimes it can be hard to pull back and take it slow, or harder to focus more on your nutrition then your exercise. Please remember your health journey is a long-term lifestyle change, it’s an ever-evolving marathon, not a sprint challenge. The slower and steadier changes are made the more inclined they are to become long-term lifestyle habits.
When I created the 6 weeks Lighten Up Challenge it was always with the intention of teaching others new and simple ways to be healthy as opposed to having an unsustainable weight loss results in a short-term period. I encourage everyone to take the principles out of the challenge that really resonated with them and carry them on.
I hope to see you in THERMOfit’s Lighten Up Challenge.