If you maintain a consistent workout regimen, you deserve to feel fulfilled and accomplished both mentally and physically. You have worked hard to increase your strength and deserve to reap the rewards for your efforts with noticeable muscle gains.
However, if you feel like you do not see the gains you want, it could be because you are falling short in one area or another. Therefore, if you are looking to make consistent progress toward your fitness goals, it is essential to understand what factors could be holding you back.
Whatever the case may be, there are certain things that you can do to help improve your overall performance. Today we will look at a few pre- and post-workout habits that can kill your gains.
- Skipping meals, particularly breakfast
- Not eating carbs
- Not drinking enough water
- Overeating junk food
- Drinking alcohol
- Doing cardio before weight training
- Not cooling down and stretching post-exercise
- Not sleeping enough
Let’s examine these common mistakes and how they affect your ability to reach your fitness goals.
Skipping Meals and Not Eating Carbs
Fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand. To grow muscle, consistently consume calories from all micro- and macronutrient sources.
Protein-rich foods like turkey, chicken, tofu, skim milk, seafood, fish, beans, eggs, and egg whites help with muscle development and repair. We have whey and organic sacha inchi protein powder available at the reception desk, so you can enjoy a healthy protein shake after your next workout at Podium Gym CrossFit.
Saturated and unsaturated fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, avocados, fish oils, and nut butters, are needed to build cell membranes. However, avoid them immediately following a workout session as your body’s in a fat-burning mode, and you want it to use up fat stores.
Carbohydrates, such as those found in oatmeal, potatoes, rice, quinoa, fruits and vegetables, provide energy for your muscles during workouts. Society has portrayed carbohydrates as the evil of macronutrients, but this is not the case. If you do not eat enough carbs pre- or post-exercise, your muscles will not grow efficiently.
Note: If you are looking for an easy way to boost your health and improve your diet, try one of our juicing programs.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Drink eight glasses of water daily (or more), preferably between meals, not during. If you consistently fail to drink enough water, it can hinder your immune system, slow your recovery time, and consequently limit your progress in the gym.
Overeating Junk Food
While the occasional cheat meal is fine, your post-workout window is not an eating free-for-all spree. Meal quality, portion sizes, and consistency are crucial to reaching your goals. You cannot eat junk food after a workout and expect to reach your fitness goals. You are only holding yourself back, or worse, receding.
Eating after training helps replenish glycogen stores—the energy source stored in muscles and liver cells. However, if you eat a sugary treat immediately after a session, you risk depleting your glycogen stores completely. As a result, this behavior leaves you tired and weak, making it challenging to build your strength.
Instead, opt for fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. They contain complex carbohydrates that provide fuel for long, intense workouts, and they will not spike blood sugar levels. Plus, they are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
Your body synthesizes protein from food to maintain, repair, and develop your muscles. Unfortunately, several studies have found that both short and long-term alcohol usage reduces a person’s rate of protein synthesis—less protein synthesis results in fewer gains.
Doing Cardio Before Weight Training
Getting all your cardio out of the way first is a tremendous waste because it leaves you spent before hitting the weights. Freshness is vital for a successful weightlifting workout. In addition, cardio depletes muscular glycogen, your explosive energy store. As a result, your efforts to build muscle mass will be compromised.
Not Cooling Down and Stretching Post-Exercise
A proper cool-down period is arguably just as crucial to the workout as the actual workout itself. It is essential for recovery, increased flexibility and range of motion, and decreased muscle soreness and fatigue. In addition, the more flexible you are and fluid your range of motion is, the greater your capacity to enhance lean muscle mass.
So, how long does it take to cool down? According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the ideal cool-down duration is only five minutes.
Not Sleeping Enough
One of the most overlooked factors in fitness and bodybuilding is sleep. Not getting enough of it denies your body the chance to repair damaged muscle fibers that result in muscle gains. In addition, testosterone levels drop if you do not sleep enough.
Many more behaviors can kill muscle gains, like not increasing intensity or sticking to the same routine. But the ones mentioned above are the lesser acknowledged.
For more information, consult with one of the trainers at Podium Gym CrossFit. We would love to help you along on your bodybuilding journey.