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4 Nutrition Mistakes

We’ve talked countless times how diet has a huge impact on our performance while working out. Even small nutritional mistakes can set us back big time. Therefore, if you train hard and your performance appears to fall short on more than one occasion, the culprit might be what you are (or are not) eating. Here are five of the most common dietary mistakes and how to avoid them.

1.  Not Drinking Enough Water
Dehydration can cause many performance-related issues, such as premature fatigue and muscle cramps to poor focus and impaired strength and speed. Did you know that water has a direct impact on the aging process? Dehydration, combined with inactivity and stress from daily living, causes the connective tissues around our muscles and joints to become stiff and brittle over time. Drinking sufficient water will improve our muscle tissue and flexibility. Just make sure to drink throughout the day and NOT just during your workouts. As long as the urine has that clear-pale lemonade color, you’re in good shape.

2. Not Taking in Enough Sodium
We’re told that sodium can be potentially bad because it can cause high blood pressure. However, unless you are sedentary or have high blood pressure issues, it should not be a concern. Truth be told, salt is actually the ally in the fight for proper hydration. Our bodies need sodium to produce consistent muscle contractions, maintain blood volume and improve recovery. If you have frequent cramping, your sweat tastes like salt or notice your workout clothes ringed in white powder, it’s a sign you may need to up the sodium intake.

3. “Fueling” With Energy Drinks
You may be revved up for your workout after ingesting an energy drink. Don’t be fooled by this feeling though. These drinks stimulate you because of the caffeine, but won’t provide usable energy in the form of calories to your working muscles. After about 30 minutes the caffeine boost will begin to wear off and you may feel worse than when you started. Although some energy drinks contain calories in the form of sugar, those calories might not be usable because large quantities of sugar densely packed into small amounts of fluid can be very hard for the stomach to digest. What happens then? Those calories sit in your stomach waiting to be stored as fat instead of working for you.

4. Not Eating Before Exercise
You don’t want to be too full going into a workout or race. No one likes a feeling of food or drink sloshing around in the stomach while exercising. However, not eating anything at all might be worse. Working out on an empty stomach will not provide you the fuel to perform at your very best. Even worse, it may cause your body to break down lean body mass as a source of energy, defeating the reason to work out in the first place. Eat a small serving of food, such as a bowl of cereal with a banana or half a bagel w/ peanut butter, one hour before activity.