7 Ways to Ruin a Good Workout

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I usually avoid labeling anything as good or bad. The usefulness of things depends on many factors including how you use them, when, and the purpose to which they’re used.
But, there are a few things that could be counter-productive when it comes to reaping the benefits of a good workout. Here are a few:

Mistake #1 – Go Straight for sugary snacks after your workout:

Sugars, especially simple sugars as seen in juicy drinks and high sugar snacks become evil particularly if your goal is to lose weight. During a workout, your body is utilizing energy from 2 main sources: fat stores under the skin or sugar stores in muscles. Sugary foods raise your blood sugar levels in less than 15 minutes, This in turn spikes your insulin levels up, in order to bring your blood sugar levels back down to normal. This immediate response fatigues your body and puts you in the hunger cycle you could have avoided.  HIIT, group classes, and spinning fanatics are usual victims to this because their workout depletes sugar levels in the blood turning on the hunger switch. As such, you’ll probably end up storing more calories than you burnt during the workout in the first place. Because glucose is the good sugar and can be used by all our cells for energy, the best sources of natural carbohydrates are starchy vegetables like potatoes, other green vegetables, and high fiber grains instead.

Mistake #2 – Don’t pay attention to fructose:

This deserves a section on its own, even though it’s closely related to sugars. The research on fructose must become more public so the average person can understand and avoid the damage this type of sugar can have on the body. While every cell in the body can use glucose, the liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts, fatiguing the liver from doing its other major functions of breaking down wastes. Because it can’t be used for energy by your body’s cells, it is stored in the body as fat.

Note:  Fruits generally contain both glucose and fructose, but they also contain much needed minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Unless you overdose on fruit, you will still be okay. The general rule is to go for the actual fruit instead of a juiced version. Also, a good rule of thumb for most healthy people is at around 50 grams of fructose per day. Keeping in mind that most fruits are half glucose and half fructose, consuming over 100 grams of sugar from fruits every day can become problematic.

Mistake #3 – Avoid the stretch:

To begin, stretching is the lengthening of the muscles after a workout: During a fitness session most of our movements are focused on tightening the muscles, leaving them shortened and pumped. Avoiding this essential block from a good routine would, in the long run, cause painful muscle cramps and muscle imbalances that ruin a good posture, make you stiff and sore, and increase needed recovery time and hence leaving you worse off as you attempt to improve. Be sure to cooldown in order to slowly drop your heart rate and mentally prepare you for the final stretch.


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Mistake #4 – Forget to hydrate:

The debate on hydration during sports/fitness remains till today. Some say that thirst is the body’s automatic signal to drink while some say one must be continuously hydrated before thirst, which is a sign that it is already late. The consensus remains, that one can drink too much and too little water, and listening to your body is essential. Since you the reader will not be competing in athletic circles, hydrating after a workout is undebatable. It speeds up your recovery and cools you down and helps you ward off hunger for hunger.


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Mistake #5 – Cheers to sports drinks instead of water:

Commercial sports drinks usually contain the following: electrolytes and salts to replace the ones lost during sweating, water, coloring agents, caffeine (in some) and sugar. The sugar is usually for taste, but athletes also benefit from that boost of energy, specifically endurance athletes. Unless your workout spans more than 90 minutes and includes a decent amount of sweat, and unless your training focus is performance, then you’re probably better off without it. Burn the fat and sugar stores you already have instead, and make water your best friend.

Mistake #6 – Skip the showers:

Most people do shower after their workouts. But it seems the transition time from fitness world to the clean social world takes too long with some people. Showering has the following purposes: to psychologically transition you from one state of mind to another, to cool the body and relax the muscles, and to clean off the body from sweat. If sweat cools on the body, the skin pores remain closed off for too long, encouraging bacterial and, in some cases, fungal growth. No need to mention the body odor. A good shower usually entails alternating between hot and cold water several times in order to increase blood flow to the muscles, aiding in their relaxation. Please remember to dry well. More on this later.


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Mistake #7 – Sit in a cold room:

After a really good workout, the body is usually, mildly hammered and ready for to be re-constructed. As the focuses on reconstructing its cells and tissues to stronger version, less energy is available for the remained activities like fighting off harmful microorganisms. When we enter a cold room, it takes very little time for the blood vessels in our throat and our skins to constrict their flow, leaving room for existing microorganisms to thrive. Since the body is fatigued (post workout), there is a greater chance of getting sick reversing any gains you had made earlier with your exercise program.

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