Do you think you have a few pounds to lose? Have you tried upping your exercise only to find that you didn't lose weight? Or, maybe you even gained a pound or two (and it wasn't muscle)? If so, you're not alone and chances are, you suffer from one or more fat habits that keep you from reaching your real potential.
Here's a look at the most common fat habits and some slim-down solutions.
Overdoing Sports Drinks, Bars, Gels and Blocks
Sports drinks, bars and gels are great and can enhance your performance, but many athletes overuse them and intake hundreds of additional calories.
Not all training sessions require sports nutrition supplements. If you're training for a triathlon or marathon, you only really need on-the-go fuel for your long rides and runs.
Sports drinks are great for exercise that lasts at least 90 minutes because they provide such readily available carbs for your muscles. Water is fine for shorter workouts. But you can eat real, satisfying foods to fuel most exercise just fine. Use sports nutrition products for longer training sessions and races—but you don't need them every day of the week.
When it comes to your recovery nutrition, eat real food instead of a high-calorie recovery drink. Many recovery products are calorie-rich. Besides, you're better off eating real foods that combine lean protein with carbohydrates, like a turkey sandwich, Greek yogurt with fruit, protein pancakes or other protein-rich options.
Using Food as a Reward
Many active individuals know their cheat meal and can't wait for their post-workout pig-out. They think of food as their reward for working out. It's not uncommon for athletes to eat several times the calories that they just burned during their workout as their recovery meal.
Assuming that you can eat whatever you like just because you've completed your training for the day, is what keeps you from getting leaner. Exercise (even intense exercise) burns a paltry amount of calories compared to the calories you can down in a matter of minutes from decadent foods.
If you're hungry after a hard workout, try to manage your appetite with filling foods like fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein and whole grains. If you mentally need that cheat meal, then schedule it after a race or your hardest training day, but don't eat it every day.