After a huge weekend of barbecuing, drinking, or celebrating with friends and family our better eating habits can fall by the wayside. Lots of people can bounce back into healthy and wholesome eating, however, there are readers among us, myself included, that play VR for fitness to torch calories and fat (with sweat running down our faces) only to then go and get stuffed full of ribs, beer, and chips. All the while hoping to see the scale inch lower the following week.
We’re here to kindly remind you that your hard work and effort into getting fit with VR isn’t for nothing, it’s for you and your health. So, to help myself and others get back on track after the long weekend, I want to ask the question: Are your eating habits helping or hurting your VR fitness routine?
If you’re like me, you’re in good company. Keep reading to find out how you might just be sabotaging your own fitness goals with less than stellar eating habits. Fortunately, this can be overcome with a little bit of planning.
Exercise Makes Me Hungrier!
Playing VR fitness games can help you lose weight and exercise, in general, can make you feel hungrier after a workout. Playing a game like Sprint Vector requires calories, but don’t overdo it. Post-workout, your brain and stomach are probably telling you to eat like it’s your last race and meal, but be mindful of what and how much you’re putting in the energy tank. Remember that old saying, your eyes can be bigger than your stomach. To be more mindful, some people track food choices, nutrition, and calories in/out with an app like My Fitness Pal or meal prep healthy food options and portion sizes ahead of time so they don’t risk making unreliable food choices based on hunger. Eating is necessary, stuffing yourself is not.
I’ll burn it off anyway.
If you’ve got the metabolism of a hummingbird, this will be true for you. But if you’re like every other adult with a declining metabolism you swore would never happen, this mentality will not go over well with your surf shorts or your bikini straps. Some people think they can eat anything they want, play VR, lose weight and get a more toned summer body. If you’re burning more than you’re shoveling into your mouth, it might work out for your waistline but other underlying nutritional or health imbalances may still exist. If your thinking sounds like this you might end up stacking on fat and poor internal health instead of lean muscle and a healthy body. Or, let’s say you do eat whatever you want and do burn it off. Aren’t you just maintaining the weight or physicality of who you are currently? If that’s all you want, that’s all you’ll get. But don’t you want more?
Not eating enough.
Eating too much not only sabotages your weight loss or toning efforts, the opposite is true too. Not giving your body enough well-rounded nutrition and calories will work against you by slowing down the metabolism or making your mind and body to feel weaker overall. Imagine heading into a cardio or movement intense games like BOXVR or Beat Saber on an empty stomach. Some people have busy lives and have chosen to work through lunch, we get it, but punching beat orbs or slicing directional cubes like a real Jedi is going to get exhausting after a few minutes of gameplay. You’ll be regretting that you skipped or worked through a meal and didn’t eat that pre-workout banana or whatever healthy snack it is that keeps your energy tank burning. If this is you, set an appointment on your smartphone or daily alert on your smartwatch to remind yourself to refuel with a snack or meal.
Who needs water?
The answer is — everyone! There are people running around that are chronically dehydrated and don’t even know it. Did you wake up and drink a cup of water? Have you had water since you’ve been at work for hours? Can you remember the last time you even peed? If you answered no to any of these, go get some water! Drinking soda or juice doesn’t count as water either, it’s basically sugar water and food coloring. Keep a water bottle nearby and chug it any chance you get. Refill, repeat. Water is the essence of life, it keeps our life engine running so we can function and flushes out impurities in our bodies. Flavor it with lemon or fruit, or if you’re really anti-flavorless water, try stevia-based water flavoring. Water not only helps move food and nutrients through your system and provides it with hydration and electrolyte balance, it’s going to keep your body and mind in the game longer.
But I’m hungry now.
Don’t sabotage the hard work you’ve been putting in for a few nights of takeout, processed and fried foods, or midnight munching because you didn’t plan ahead for a meal or you didn’t keep healthy and fresh snacks around. To strategize around hunger ahead of time, you’re going to need to keep fresh fruit and veggies, energy bars, or protein shakes around so you’re not instant ordering delivery because hungry and tired you spoke louder than the smarter you that knows better. Plan ahead and hack your snacks! Try pre-packaging diced fruit and veggies in plastic baggies so you can grab them as easily as chips. Or, try making individual smoothie packs you can freeze and then put into a blender at a moment’s notice.
It’s party time!
Having a decadent meal every now and again or a cheat day once a week to eat and drink soda or alcohol without overthinking it is normal in moderation. Keeping the party train going with mixed drinks, shots, beer, or lots of food feasting through the weekend and on to the weekday is going to morph muscle into belly fat fast and is going to make exercising feel really uncomfortable. Livestrong says that alcohol is super dehydrating to your system, every bottle or glass you drink will add unnecessary sugars and calories to your body, increases production of lactic acid (sore muscles!), makes you more tired while working out, decreases muscle growth and slows repair, and makes you sweatier overall. Nobody’s got time for that or nursing a hangover in VR.
VR Fitness Takeaway (Not the food kind.)
As an effective low impact exercise option that relies on moving your own body weight around, VR has helped lots of people lose weight and keep it off with working out consistency and by changing the way we eat. Exercising burns calories and makes us hungry, which is natural. However, if we keep eating more than we’re playing active VR games the scale is going to creep upwards and our top pant button is going to pop off. So, how do we make moves to counter these unhealthy patterns? You realize you’re doing it! Next step, start making moves to develop better eating habits.