After a hard day at the gym, some people choose to reward themselves with a piece of cake or a burger. Just like everyone else, gym goers are tempted to indulge in eating unhealthy food occasionally, despite the fact that most people know fast food induces an increase in weight and is an unhealthy choice.
An excuse people often use is that they have already been to the gym, and a single chocolate bar will not hurt too much. The question they should be asking themselves is whether such excuses should be allowed, and whether they make all the hard work done at the gym pointless.
In theory, some form of reward makes some sense. Going to the gym means burning lots of calories that will require an individual to consume more of as required by the body. For example, consuming an extra 200 calories every day to replace the 400 calories burnt off at the gym might make sense. After all, the individual has just managed to burn off 200 calories, plus more exercise results in needing more caloric intake anyway.
Doing this daily, though, or indulging in treats such as pieces of a thousand-calorie cake are likely to make the time spent in the gym pointless. Having the odd treat might seem fine, but the question is whether it is right.
The mentality behind such thinking presents a unique set of problems. The main problem is that the treat may contain more calories than expected and going to the gym burns fewer calories. One hour, three-day-a-week sessions in the gym are likely to burn off a few hundred calories – depending on fitness levels. However, the treat consumed is likely to have more calories than those burned off.
For instance, a 100-gram chocolate bar is likely to contain about 500 calories. For many people, depending on their pace, running will help burn between 500 to 1000 calories per hour. Therefore, eating that chocolate bar makes the time spent in the gym pointless in a few minutes.
Apart from chocolate bars, many other types of foods also contain lots of calories. Some of the foods include chips and burgers prepared at local fast food restaurants. Such foods contain between 500 and 1000 calories depending on meal size. Consuming such quantities of calories make time spent in the gym seem futile. Ideally, the overall objective of going to the gym is to ensure that an individual loses weight – and consuming fewer calories than are burned off is one way to achieve that goal.
Another problem associated with junk food treat rewards is that an individual is likely to get used to certain types of foods. Consuming junk food high in salt and fat helps increase cravings. Weekly fast food restaurant meal treats eventually leave an individual vulnerable to cravings. To overcome these cravings, the individual should entirely cut out junk food and eat less-fattening healthier food to make time spent at the gym count more.
Even though the gym can help the individual counteract the effects of junk food, continued consumption is still not a healthy choice. The fat in junk food is likely to clog up the arteries, and the salt will increase blood pressure. Both effects are not good for the human body; therefore, the less junk food consumed, the better.
Cutting out junk food is an eye-opening experience that helps individuals find out that healthy foods do taste good. Gym-goers are encouraged not to view consuming junk food as a reward, but the real reward should be eating regular, delicious, and healthy food.
Treating oneself with junk food does not mean eating them every couple of times a week. Instead, junk food should be limited to as few times a month as possible. To counteract junk food cravings, it is advisable that one starts exploring other healthier food options.