Exercise

Exercise Is Not an Excuse to Eat Junk

Exercise Is Not an Excuse to Eat Junk

While it might seem logical to some that exercise is not an excuse to eat junk food, not everyone follows that rule. I see it all the time. People workout vigorously and judiciously, only to leave the gym to have a beer and fried snack with the guys. While you can commend the workout ethic, you have to wonder about the logic of feeding your body junk when it’s done.

Your body needs healthy fuel.

Working out is a way to build endurance, strength and flexibility. All of those require that you that you have a nutritious diet to provide the building blocks necessary for good health. If your diet is primarily sugar products, you’ll see your blood sugar spike and then drop like a rock. That not only affects your overall health, it affects your ability to finish the workout. Building muscle tissue requires certain nutrients, most of which you won’t find in a jelly donut.

Fat will linger no matter how much you workout if you don’t eat healthy.

You’d have to spend 30 minutes of exercise to burn off the calories in a donut. That can slow your progress toward a thinner, healthier you. Most people who are eating junk don’t just stop at one donut a day but fill in the energy gaps that come from the giant spike in sugar levels of the donut, with other sweet treats. If two donuts or a donut and candy bar are in your diet, your hour of exercising results in ZERO gain. Throw in fries and a Big Mac and you’ll be working out and gaining weight at the same time, not to mention the havoc it plays with your health.

Exercising is just one healthy lifestyle.

Most people identify the health issues related to smoking, so it’s a good example to use. It’s easy to see how a smoker who wants to build endurance, but follows up the program with a cigarette or two could be sabotaging their efforts. The same is true with eating junk food after working out. It slows your progress and may even negate it entirely.

  • Start changing your diet slowly. Switch from soft drinks to water for one week. Decide not to eat a candy bar but choose an apple.
  • Eating the right type of food can improve not only the results but the quality of your workout. There are also studies that show timing your eating plus the food you eat give better results.
  • Eating junk increases the potential for nutritional deficiencies and plays a detrimental role in your longevity.
  • The food you eat helps or hinders your recovery after a workout. It helps sustain energy and boost your performance. When you want to live a healthy lifestyle, you need to look at all areas of your life from exercise and diet, to adequate sleep and unhealthy habits.

Every Choice Adds Up

Every Choice Adds Up

Every choice adds up in life. Whether you’re working on a goal to be a better trombone player, desiring to be more fit or want to be a better student, the choices you make reflect the end results. If you skip studying for a test one night, but get back on track the next, you’ll miss an opportunity to learn the material better, but can still do well overall. However, if skipping studying becomes chronic, your goal to be a good student will probably fail. The same is true of fitness. Skipping one workout or eating one jelly donut won’t necessarily affect your program, but doing it frequently will destroy it.

Taking the stairs or the elevator.

While it’s easy to see how eating junk food instead of healthy fare or skipping workouts to watch TV can negatively affect your results, there are other decisions you make throughout the day that also can have an effect. If you work on the third floor of a building, but always take the elevator, just switching to the stairs can improve your health and burn extra calories that add up after a week’s work. Parking at the first parking spot and walking a little further to the store also plays a role…and saves you gas at the same time. Consider all the small decisions regarding extra exercise.

Be prepared with a healthy snack.

If you’re an adult, which I presume you are if you’re reading this, you probably already know your own habits and moods. If you chronically get hungry at two in the afternoon, then stop at a gas station on the way home to pig out on the junk food they sell, do something about it. Be prepared with a healthy mid-afternoon snack of fruit. Bring two so you have one to eat on the way home.

Choose your food wisely.

Learn how to make substitutions. While you might love sour cream on your baked potato, Greek yogurt tastes just as good and is lower in calories and higher in nutrition. Eat wild rice or brown rice instead of white rice to boost your nutritional intake, while you reduce calories. Learn how to make simple changes, such as eating a lettuce roll rather than a sandwich with bread or bypassing the fries and ordering a salad. Every choice counts toward a healthier body.

  • If you feel like skipping a workout, be a procrastinator. Tell yourself you’ll skip it tomorrow.
  • Going out to eat? Don’t order that soft drink or sweetened ice tea. Have water or unsweetened tea with a little lemon instead.
  • Decide to “give it your all” for a few exercises to see what a difference it makes. Most people only work at half throttle. You’ll get more out of giving it your all than you will out of working out longer.
  • Take the time to plan and prepare a weekly menu and snacks. If your meals and snacks are ready to cook or warm, you’ll be less apt to grab an unhealthy snack to curb your appetite.