Serious athletes know that being fit requires discipline and knowledge of both the gym and the kitchen. Physical activity and proper nutrition go hand in hand to sustain wellness, promote muscle growth and provide you with the energy you need to achieve your fitness goals.

If you’re adhering to a workout regimen and still not seeing the results you’re looking for or feeling exhausted after only a few minutes, improper nutrition could be what’s holding you back. Check out these common nutrition mistakes athletes make, and learn how to swap them out with healthier habits.

Working out on an empty stomach 
If you’re fan of waking up and heading to the gym with nothing but black coffee fueling your system, you could be making a major mistake. Shape magazine explained that your body wants to break down carbohydrates while you work out, but if you haven’t ingested anything substantial, it must instead break down muscle mass. That means that lifting weights or heading out on a run without eating beforehand could be chipping away at the very muscle you’re working so hard to build. Make it a priority to eat something light and healthy about 20 minutes before you start exercising, recommended the source. Toast with nut butter, a SFH Whey Protein shake, a hard-boiled egg, or a handful of nuts are all good choices for creating energy and allowing you to grow muscle.

Thinking your workout routine affords you a free pass
If you have a serious training regimen or a naturally muscular physique, you might feel entitled to consume junk food more frequently than people whose goals involve shedding fat. Even if you don’t feel as though your diet is affecting the way you look, it’s no doubt affecting the way you workout. Food is fuel, and the quality of whatever you’re consuming is often reflected in your strength, endurance and clear-headedness. Additionally, an athlete’s body needs to repair and replenish itself after intense exercise, and that can’t happen when you’re filling up on sugary treats and chemical-infused fast food. After the gym, always eat a healthy meal packed with vitamins, nutrients and lean protein. If you’re on-the-go, make a quick and easy shake using our single-serve packets of Recovery Whey Protein Powder.