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Having a "this for that" mentality

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  Having a consistent "this for that" mentality—for instance, going on a five-mile run and using that to justify eating pizza afterward—is a major no-no. "The mindset of exchanging working out/burning calories for allowing yourself to eat or the reverse (eating poorly then exercising as a 'punishment'), is a slippery slope," says Mihovilovic. "If you are consistently bartering exercising in exchange for food, long-term this can condition an unhealthy relationship and mindset around food, which leads to binge eating, anxiety around eating and exercise, unnecessary feelings of guilt, and overall an unbalanced diet." Think of your food as fuel, or "energy drawn in," and working out as "energy processed out." Both depend on the other to operate successfully. Food provides nourishment to your body; it keeps your brain active, your muscles working properly, and your heart beating, explains Mihovilovic. Savoring a meal with loved ones

Eating sugary, overly processed foods and beverages

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  Choosing foods and drinks with a high glycemic index can cause quick changes in blood sugar levels. If this occurs regularly, it can result in diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, Mihovilovic notes. "After your workout, if you suddenly crave sugar and sweets, this is your body's way of signaling that your glycogen stores need to be replenished and is your reminder to refuel," explains Mihovilovic. "Instead of reaching for simple carbohydrates or sugary drinks like soda, go for whole fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates! After an ultra sweaty and intense workout my go-to is coconut water, watermelon water, a banana, or fresh berries!"

Not cooling down or stretching

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  "The reason for a cool down is to return your heart rate back or close to your resting heart rate," says Mihovilovic. "Stopping immediately without a cool-down can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting. Static stretching and foam rolling (being a part of your cool down) are also important because they can help improve range of motion in the joints, decrease the risk of injury, relieve potential cramping, assist with circulation, and decrease muscle soreness." Make it your goal to carve out three to five minutes for cooling down after your workouts. Work out with the mindset that your cool-down is just as crucial as your main workout itself. "What I see often is clients that think if it's not actively burning calories or feeling incredibly intense, it's not beneficial," Mihovilovic points out. "If you are planning to do a 30-minute workout, make sure that the last three to five minutes of that 30-minute incorporate your cool-down.&quo

Drinking alcohol

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  Drinking alcohol after exercising is another mistake you shouldn't risk making. Mihovilovic explains it can result in heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, digestive issues, and liver disease. In addition, dehydration is a side effect that comes on immediately. "It's important to replace the fluids lost from sweating before consuming alcohol, which would cause further dehydration. It can also prevent muscles from healing efficiently following your workout," Mihovilovic tells us. If you're celebrating something special or heading out with friends post-workout, opt for sparkling water, kombucha, freshly squeezed green juice, or a hydrating mocktail instead.

Not consuming enough protein

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  If you're not consuming enough protein after workouts, you could feel fatigued and weak and not recover productively. "If you neglect this macro too much, you could also lose muscle mass," explains  Sasha Mihovilovic, NASM-CPT  and master trainer for AKT. To avoid this pitfall, enjoy some protein within 30 to 90 minutes after working out. For a quick protein-packed treat, adding your favorite protein powder to a shaker bottle with water, coconut water, or dairy-free milk is seamless to put together. "[In addition,] if you have time, you could make a smoothie or have one prepared before your workout," Mihovilovic adds. "This will maximize post-exercise muscle protein synthesis rates and help with more efficient and effective muscle recovery. Just like I would pick out my workout outfit the night before, I always have a post-workout protein source prepared as well."

Putting yourself in a stressful situation

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  We've established that the stress hormone cortisol is released when you work out. If you're constantly stressed, your cortisol levels remain high, which can result in a variety of health issues and substantially hold you back from achieving your fitness goals by making you gain belly fat, crave unhealthy foods, and mess up your metabolism. "Take a tip from the yogis and add a savasana, or some sort of mindful practice to the end of your workout to allow your nervous system to regulate before heading back to work, traffic, etc.," Tucker recommends. "This could look like laying down for five minutes, gentle breathwork, a guided meditation, or even a leisurely walk outside. Building this time into the end of your workout can help you switch from the sympathetic (fight or flight) to parasympathetic (rest and digest) and improve exercise results in the long run."

Rushing into another intense workout

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  Tucker says this one may sound silly, but she's experienced plenty of "workout-obsessed clients" who perform "doubles," aka, high-intensity workouts back-to-back. "While occasionally this may be okay with certain types of exercise, too much high-intensity exercise without proper recovery time can cause chronic high cortisol levels, deplete glycogen stores, disrupt metabolism, and increase the risk of injury if done regularly—all of which can negatively impact workout results," she explains. As previously stressed, rest and recovery time is a critical part of the process. Tucker recommends taking eight hours—but ideally 24 hours—for your body to sufficiently recover between intense workouts. If you feel the need to squeeze in an extra workout, opt for a lower-intensity strength workout paired with a higher-intensity cardio routine. "Or, skip the second workout altogether and opt for gentle activity like walking in nature or a leisurely bike ride—