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Working Out to "Earn" Your Calories?

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Have you ever caught yourself saying, "I'm going to workout hard so that I can eat whatever I want!"?

If you have, you are not alone. This is one of the more common statements I’ve heard as a coach over the years.

We talk about mindset in our gym frequently. Since we are big on creating long term changes in areas such as fitness, nutrition, and body composition, you MUST have a healthy approach to how you view your daily habits. Having an “earn your calories” mentality is an extremely dangerous mindset when it comes to your health. Some of the main pitfalls to thinking like this are:

-The amount of calories you burn during a workout should not be the main metric you use to determine if it was a good workout or not (see last week’s blog)

-Most of the time this mentality causes people to indulge in very poor quality food because they feel like they “earned” a big treat.

-This approach can lead to too much intensity or volume during workouts in order to justify the feast coming afterwards, which can present more problems like injuries

-What happens on the days you don’t do anything to “earn” food? Do you simply not eat?

While calories in vs. calories out is one of the main things you should consider when it comes to your nutrition, there are many other factors at play. For example, if I burned 3,000 calories in one day and I were to eat 2,500 calories worth of Snickers bars that same day, it’s mathematically proven that I would lose a small amount of weight in that 24 hours. However, you should recognize that I would also:

1. Intake almost zero protein, so I would lose muscle mass very quickly if this were to continue

2. Have terrible energy levels throughout the day, not to mention mild to severe stomach discomfort

3. Create an unhealthy hormone balance, have non-existent nutrient diversity and also increase inflammation

Instead of this “burn calories to eat calories” approach, you can see why you should want to keep stacking healthy habits on top of each other. So after a great workout, train your mindset to think something like “I want to give my body the necessary nutrients to refuel after that workout AND help me feel great the rest of the day”.

Want help starting or re-setting your healthy habits? Reach out to me personally and we'll get started today.

Keep creating consistency,

-Austin Bates

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