You feel great after a high-intensity workout, but your thoughts post workout turn to what kinds of foods to eat. What's too little, too much, too upsetting to your stomach?
At least you know better than not to ask. The worst mistake is to think that after all those calories burned, you can grab a calorie-loaded meal at a fast-food restaurant, which is just the kind of meal you have learned to avoid. It's important to eat something about 30 minutes after the workout to replace the fluids and glycogen (muscle fuel), but it's even more important to eat something right. A recent study in a medical journal points out that it is necessary to consider what you will eat after you exercise. Eating the wrong foods will undo the time and effort you set aside to get fit. Here are 4 no-no foods that could set the clock back to your pre-workout days, before you got serious about exercising to keep fit.
1. Sugar-High Energy Bars, Fruit Drinks and Soda
These are put into one category because the three items have something negative in common: lots of sugar. After a workout, sugar from soft drinks and fructose from fruit juice set your metabolism back to slow. All the energy that was built up by exercise is reversed when your body takes in all that sugar from oversweetened fruit drinks. Read labels carefully. If the grams of sugar are steep according to the label, then reach instead for bottled water. Unsweetened iced tea is another good choice.
2. Weight-Loss Crudites
This may sound counter-intuitive to a keep-fit regimen, but do not reach for celery and carrot sticks as your recovery snack after a workout. After a workout, you need something more substantial than foods with negligible calories. You need to choose a combination of carbs and protein that will help you restore energy and maintain a healthy metabolic rate.
The easiest way to remember this rule is to think of protein plus carbs. Eggs and toast, if it is a morning workout, is perfect. Evening workouts can be finished off with a half cup of cottage cheese and a peanut butter sandwich; or a lean-meat sandwich, or a bagel with cream cheese; or a handful of nuts.
3. Too Many Fats
Avoid fatty snacks and mini-meals such as french fries or oily pizza or fast-food subs and burgers. Fitness experts say that only a small percent of your meal should be comprised of fat. Your goal is to replenish your body's glycogen and reduce, not add to, the amount of fat your body stores.
4. Salty Snacks
A protein and carbohydrate post-workout meal such as the ones suggested here have enough salt in them to cover your needs. One professor of biochemistry tells athletes to avoid salt tablets; salt loss from working out, he says, is the athlete's least worry. Loss of minerals such as potassium is far more necessary to think about. You can easily resolve this loss by eating a handful of dried fruit or a banana. In fact, an excess of salt will drive down your levels of potassium.