We know what it’s like. You start working out more, maybe you read some online articles about the importance of protein, maybe someone at the gym offers up some nutrition advice, your phone starts serving you all kinds of heath and fitness ads. Pretty quickly you can become snowed under with information and it can be easy to start making some of these very common nutrition mistakes.
The good news is once you know about them, they’re easy to fix and you’re likely to see an improvement in your performance.
5 Common Nutrition Mistakes To Avoid
1. Not Eating Enough
For many this will sound counter productive, especially if you’re embarking on a weight-loss journey. But hear us out because this is one of the most common nutrition mistakes. Your body needs energy to exercise and it gets energy from food. Not eating enough, especially in the run up to a workout could not only leave you feeling light-headed during the session but get in the way of you crushing your goals and even lead to serious injury. It could eventually completely derail your training because if you’re not eating enough your body will start to break down muscle for energy.
If you’re reading this and thinking it doesn’t apply to you because your trying to lose weight then heed this warning; not eating enough to fuel your exercise could actually slow down your metabolism making it harder to lose weight in the long run. So instead of skipping meals or cutting back on calories ensure you’re eating more of the right things at the right time.
2. Not Drinking Enough Water
We’ll never stop going on about hydration. Because even the toughest Mudder is still 70% water and if you’re working out you’ll be losing that through sweat. If you are dehydrated when you workout you’re going to find it much harder to get through the session because you’ll already be feeling fatigued. You’ll be making your cardiovascular system work much harder and you may struggle to regulate your body temperature.
For most people there’s no need for complicated maths when it comes to hydration and your body will tell you when you’re thirsty. But if you are interested in how much you should drink and how often based on your body weight then check out our top hydration tips from Actiph Water.
3. Drinking Pre-Workout Energy or Sports Drinks
Now we’re not saying that pre-workout and sports drinks don’t have a place in your training and in fact they’re great for endurance events like Tough Mudder. But, if you’re doing a 30-60 minute workout water will be more than sufficient to keep you hydrated. More often than not these kinds of drinks contain a lot of sugar, calories and caffeine that may not only impact your goals (if you’re trying to lose weight you will end up just burning off the calories from the drink) but depending on when you consume it you may experience a sugar-crash mid-workout and no one needs that.
4. Smashing the Protein Powder
Ah protein, the macronutrient that is particularly useful for building muscle but the way people talk about it, you could be mistaken for thinking it was a miracle worker. Adding extra protein to our diet when we’re training can be really useful, whether it’s through changing our diet to include protein-heavy foods or tucking into a protein shake. But (isn’t there always a but) our bodies can only actually process a certain amount of protein at one time, around 20-25g. Adding any more protein to try and speed up recovery or build muscle faster won’t be processed by the body.
Our friends at PhD Nutrition have plenty of advice on protein, including how much you should have, when you should have it and how it can contribute to different fitness goals.
5. Eating Too Close to Your Workout
Gosh, aren’t we pernickety? Yes, you should be making sure that you eat enough to fuel your workouts safely but that doesn’t mean tucking into a huge meal pre-exercise. Not only will you feel sick if you eat and then try to move around but blood will be flowing to your stomach to aid digestion, instead of your muscles. Similarly with sports drinks, depending on what you eat and how close to your workout it it, you could also experience a crash mid-workout.
Check out our top tips on what to eat before, during and after a workout for more detailed advice on when to eat in relation to your workout.