You can work up a big appetite during an intense, fat-blasting workout. But what you choose to eat after working out can make a big difference in how quickly you reach your weight loss and fitness goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, the last thing you want to do is cancel out the calories you’ve burned by refueling on junk food. And even seemingly healthy foods may not provide the nutrition you need for replenishing yourself after you’ve exercised. The key is finding the right combination of protein and carbs to build lean muscle.
With that in mind, here are some post-workout foods to avoid. Some of these might surprise you!
Fast Food. It should go without saying, but high-fat fast food is not a healthy option under any circumstances. But, after a tough workout, hitting the drive-thru will only negate all the effort and sweat you put in at the gym.
Potato Chips. Along with other salty snacks, the high amount of sodium in potato chips lowers your body’s potassium levels — which is exactly the opposite of what you need after a good workout. Potassium is an essential electrolyte that becomes depleted during exercise. Depleting more potassium with a salty snack will only hinder your body’s recovery.
Raw Vegetables. In and of themselves, raw veggies simply do not contain enough calories to keep your energy up and metabolism running at a healthy rate after an intense workout. To make veggies a good option for a post-workout snack, pair them with a protein-packed dip like hummus or Greek yogurt dip.
Pizza. Although carbs can be helpful after a workout, you don’t want to overdo it. In addition to carbs, the fat in a slice (or a few) of pizza will cancel out any progress you made at the gym.
Sugar. Don’t rehydrate with sodas, specialty coffee drinks or milk chocolate. Sugar slows your metabolism, so if you want your body’s fat-burning engine to stay stoked after your workout, skip the sugary drinks and sweets.
Of course, exercise expends energy, and that energy has to be replaced. Your body’s muscles and organs need glycogen to function. Eating the right food soon after a workout will help restore glycogens, keep you hydrated and otherwise ensure that you feel charged up rather than worn down from exercising. Consider putting these dishes on your post-workout menu.
Finally, when you eat after a workout is as important as what you eat. Experts recommend consuming a combination of complex carbs — such as those found in whole grains and legumes— and protein within 45 minutes of a workout. Choose the right foods to eat and you’ll give your body what it needs to build muscle and keep burning fat even after your workout ends.
If you’re ready to take your workout routine to the next level, contact McCarty Weight Loss Center today and find out how our nutritional counseling services can help you supercharge your efforts to achieve a healthier and happier lifestyle.