Let’s face it, everyone likes unhealthy food. If we could, we’d probably all eat fast food everyday because its more convenient and essentially, tastes pretty good too. The thing is, we know this is the kind of food that’s making is unhealthy and fat so a lot of us try and stay away from it as much as possible. However, a lot of people that join the gym often decide that because they’ve been training hard, they’ve “earned a treat” and decide to eat a nice burger or a piece of cake as a reward.
A lot of people say things like “it’s fine to eat a piece of cake because I went to the gym today anyway” or “I’m sure one chocolate bar won’t hurt because I’ve been working out a lot”.
But is this right? Or is this going to make all your hard work at the gym pointless?
Why It Makes Sense
In theory, this idea makes sense. If you’re going to the gym and burning off lots of calories, then you can eat more calories overall as your body will need more. If you’re burning off 300 calories in the gym, then it makes perfect sense to be able to consume an extra 100 calories a day and treat yourself. After all, you’ve still have burned off a total of 200 calories even when treating yourself.
As well as this, you’re probably not looking to treat yourself every single day. Obviously, if you went to the gym for an hour but then ate a few pieces of cake mounting up to around a thousand calories, it’s going to make your gym time pretty pointless, but if you’re just having the odd treat, it should be fine, right?
There are a number of problems with this mentality with the main one being that a treat probably contains more calories than you think, and you’re also probably burning off less calories than you think too.
If you go to the gym for an hour a day, three days a week, you’re probably going to burn a good few hundred calories during that time depending on your level of fitness. The thing is that the treat that you’re having after the gym may contain more calories than you’re actually burning off.
For example, a 100 gram bar of chocolate is going to contain approximately 500 calories. Now, for a lot of people, depending on the pace that they’re running at, they’re probably going to burn anywhere from 500 calories to 1000 calories an hour. This means that just by eating a chocolate bar, you could be making your time in the gym totally pointless within about 10 minutes.
There are plenty of other foods that have a lot of calories too. If you’re thinking of treating yourself to a burger and chips from your favourite fast food restaurant, you’re probably going to be consuming anywhere between 500 and 1000 calories depending on the size of your meal. Again, this makes your time in the gym pretty pointless.
You need to remember that the whole point of going to the gym for a lot of people is to lose weight and without consuming less calories than you are burning off, this simply isn’t going to happen.
Here are a few other problems with treating yourself to junk food.
#1 – You Get Used To Junk Food
Another problem with the mentality that going to the gym somehow earns a treat is the fact that you will get used to this kind of food. The more you eat junk food that’s high in fat and salt, the more you will crave it.
If you’re treating yourself once a week to a fast food restaurant meal, you’re probably going to find yourself wanting another one later in the week and having to try really hard not to actually go and get one.
If you cut out junk food entirely and eat healthier, less fattening food, you will find that over time, you won’t crave this food as much and this will make your gym time count a lot more.
#2 – It’s Not Healthy
Although going to the gym might counteract the fact that you’ve eaten some junk food in terms of the calories consumed, the fact of the matter is that this kind of food is still unhealthy. Sure, you might not get any fatter or see any noticeable signs that you’re unhealthy but eating junk food is certainly still not good for you.
While you might be able to run for a few miles without getting tired, that fat is still clogging up your arteries and that salt is still probably increasing your blood pressure. Neither of these things are good for the human body so the less junk food you can eat as a whole, the better.
#3 – Your State Of Mind
If you’re still looking to eat junk food and craving it on a regular basis, then you’re in the wrong state of mind for a gym goer. For a lot of people, eating healthily and cutting out the hunk food is an eye opening experience as they find that really, healthy food tastes better (I know, shocking right?).
Although you might not think it does, once you start experiencing “real” food rather than regular junk food, you will find that you probably like the taste of healthy food better.
Treating yourself to junk food keeps the mentality that the junk food is a treat whereas in reality, it should be normal, healthy and delicious food that’s just as much of a treat.
So, what should you take from this post? Basically, there really is nothing wrong with eating junk food every now and again, even if you are a serious gym goer and you’re looking to get fitter and healthier.
Having said this, every now and again doesn’t mean that you should eat it a couple of times a week. Ideally, you should eat junk food just a few times a month if you really do still crave it but the best thing to do is to start exploring other foods as you’ll probably find that you like these foods better and don’t even crave junk food any longer.