As a nutritionist, one of the biggest mistakes I see people making when trying to shed the pounds is falling victim to "train gain." This phenomenon occurs when people actually gain weight, the more they work out. Now, I'm not talking about gaining good weight like muscle--I am still referring to the not-so-desirable physiological outcomes that occur when improper nutrition is the culprit. A false sense of security of being able to eat whatever one wants can happen when hitting the gym as the thought of burning 'x' amount of calories results in the possible tendency to overeat.
If you are one who likes to hit the gym, avoid this big mistake of overeating and even more important--avoid eating empty calories as a "reward", so to speak. Even though you had some physical activity, you may still gain weight, despite the fact you are working out. The average person’s workout will only burn around 300-500 calories so it is imperative to stick to your nutrition regimen after an exercise session. Too many ice cream rewards for a job well done at the gym will backfire and negate all of the hard work you have put in.
We have all heard that people who work out need to “carb up” and eat more calories to have enough energy. This may be true for extremely competitive Ironman triathletes or Olympic athletes but if you’re working out like a typical person (jogging eight miles per week or spending 6 hours per week in the gym), there is no physical need to store away excess carbohydrates to be used for energy. Keep in mind, to lose one pound of weight per week, you must cut out 500 calories from your daily intake. If you spend an hour exercising, you can reach this 500 calorie deficit and your work is done for the day. If you return home from the gym and reward yourself with four slices of pizza (1300 calories) instead of a sensible 600 calorie meal, you are now in excess of 800 calories. Not working out? Replace a morning scone with oatmeal and an afternoon soda with iced tea and there’s your 500 calorie deficit!
Always keep in mind that fitness and weight loss is 80 percent nutrition and only 20 percent exercise. Hitting the gym may expedite your progress, but it merely fine tunes all of the work you have put into the kitchen. To find the high-protein meals and snacks that will partner perfectly with your workouts and enhance your results, check out our popular line of Protiwise products here!