If you’ve been sweating it out regularly and the scales have barely budged – or worse – they moved in the wrong direction, you can probably blame the imbalance of how much you eat and how much you burned off.
See the thing is, people who go to the gym totally overestimate how many calories they have burned off and then use that knowledge to eat more.
It doesn’t help when an instructor tells you, you’ve torched a thousand calories or you read the figures on the exercise machine and take that as gospel truth.
The thing is the amount of calories we burn depends on our age, weight, body temperature, metabolic rate and hormonal changes all come into play.
Instead of focussing on numbers, monitor your intensity on your perceived effort such as how difficult the workout feels.
In the weight room, the last few reps of every set should be tough to finish. If not bump up the weight or number of reps.
During cardio workouts, you should add shorts busts of speed to shock your body and increase the fat burn.
Another point to take on board is that you may feel hungrier after a workout.
But that doesn’t mean you should reward your gym efforts with foods of little nutritional value.
Even if you can resist the reward mentality, how you feel after a workout – exhausted, drained – can reinforce the idea that you burned a ton of calories and your body needs more fuel.
Yes serious athletes need pre and post workout calories to offset their heavy training load, but us mere mortals don’t need that after an hour at the gym.
The average person has enough glycogen stored in their muscles and liver to power through a workout.
That means, put down the sports energy drink, gel, or jelly beans.
Post workout noshing is not off limits entirely though because calories after a workout can be a solid investment.
Eat a protein rich snack like a handful of nuts, a protein shake or a meal to beat exercise- induced hunger pangs.
Just remember to count those calories into your daily account not in addition and watch the weight fall off!