So often, I hear/see people who workout so that they can eat junk. They justify what they are eating with the fact that they are planning to burn it off later. Here's the problem with that mentality: not all calories are created equal. For a long time, we have been taught the calories in/calories out mindset, meaning that all you have to do is burn more than you eat to lose weight. According to an article in FitDay, it is more complicated than that. Your body needs certain amounts of fiber, protein, carbs, and good fats. Also, liquid calories don't give you the same sense of fullness that solid calories do--drinking a regular soda won't fill you up like eating a large banana would. Now, don't convince yourself that diet soda is any better. Just because diet soda has no calories, doesn't mean it is good for your health or weight. Here's a video that will help you understand why diet soda is not the best choice.
The other day, I saw a lady walk up to the counter at a restaurant. The person behind the counter knew her and asked, "You here for your cake?" She replied, "You know it!" This woman got her cake and literally ran home with the cake in a to-go box.
One of my coworkers started the Insanity program the day before I did. I was so excited for him wanting to get healthier! I love it when people start making those types of choices. Then, I walked into my boss' office and saw my Insanity bud eating powdered donuts with her. Saddened, I said, "Seriously? You just started doing Insanity. Why are you eating that?" He said that because he was doing Insanity, he could eat the donuts.
That is not how it works, people.
I'm not saying that you can never enjoy an ice cream sandwich again, but I am saying that you will not see the results you are sweating for if you eat junk on a regular basis.
For Your Workouts
Your body needs certain nutrients to give you the energy and stamina to get through your workouts. When you eat or drink simple sugars, like my coworker's powdered donuts, your blood sugar spikes, giving you a quick burst of energy followed by a crash in energy. Your body needs proper hydration that only water can provide.
Also, eating too much sweets or just too much in general can lead to an upset stomach. Who wants to workout with an upset stomach? Not me. I end up bailing on my workout when my tummy hurts.
Eating proper foods before/after your workouts will help you to push yourself harder, amping up your workouts and getting your closer to your goals quickly.
For Your Health
Exercising doesn't exempt you from poor health conditions. Even marathoners can get high blood pressure. While this can be hereditary, it is often linked to the consumption of sodium-packed junk food.
There are numerous studies, the China Study being one, out there that declare that proper nutrition can prevent and even reverse signs of cancer and other diseases!
For Muscle Definition
Eating foods that are high in fat and/or sugar leads to weight gain. For us women, that typically collects around our midsection which is, unfortunately, where most women want to lose fat. Muscle definition comes with a low body fat percentage. You can have huge ab muscles, but if they are covered in a layer of fat, you will never see them. Like the saying goes, "Abs are 30% gym and 70% diet. They're made in the kitchen."
For Your Passion for Fitness
I don't know about you, but I am so much more motivated when I look at a before and after picture that shows significant results. I am able to see that all my hard work paid off. If I couldn't tell the difference between my before and after, I would conclude that whatever I was doing was a waste of time and I would quit. Cause and effect-- It's just like a trial-and-error science experiment! We try a fitness regimen or a diet plan; if it gives us results, it was worth it. If not, we quit. Here's the deal. Your fitness results will be amplified if you compliment your workout regimen with proper nutrition. When you see those results, you'll be pumped and you will probably keep working and maybe even work harder!
You don't need to punish yourself every time you go out to eat with friends on the weekend with an hour long treadmill run. Just eat real food :)! Our bodies don't need preservatives, added sugars, or excessive sodium. They need real food: fruits, veggies, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and lean proteins. Eating clean is natural and so good for you! For some ideas on how to eat clean, check out Tone It Up and He and She Eat Clean. When you start eating clean and start feeling energized, you will realize that good, healthy food is exceedingly rewarding!