If you’ve been working out regularly and are struggling to see a change in your weight or physique, you might need to take a closer look at the food you are eating post-workout. Working out burns calories and therefore helps you lose more fat but exhausts your body in the process. You need proper nutrition to fuel your body and supply it with energy to repair and build muscles.
Just because you worked out strenuously doesn’t mean you can eat anything you want afterward. Instead of grabbing the nearest snack, plan out your post-workout meals so you can maintain your metabolic rate and burn more fat. You should reach your goals and see results much faster if you choose foods that contain the correct amount of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
Some people avoid eating altogether after a workout since they are afraid to add back the calories they just burned off. This is an unhealthy mentality and does more damage to your body. To protect your muscles and give you energy, you need to make sure that you always eat something after exercising. At the very least, you should eat a protein-rich snack.
The most obvious food to avoid after a workout is fast food. Even though you might be too tired to cook after exercising and want to grab a quick meal while you head home from the gym, stay away from fast food! Burgers and fries have the calories to satisfy your large appetite but have a ton of added fat and sodium, which block your digestion. Fast food does the exact opposite of what a post-workout meal should do: it increases the fat stored in your body and slows down your digestive tract.
Post-workout smoothies and energy bars are great options since they are packed full of the protein, fats, and carbs your body needs to refuel itself. However, store-bought ones are often heavily processed and full of sugar and empty calories, which do a lot more damage to your health overall. Make your smoothies and always check the label of your energy bar to inspect their sugar and fat content.
After a workout, you must hydrate and replenish the electrolytes that you lost. Sweetened beverages like soda, sweet tea, and fruit juices are the absolute worst drink options since the added sugar slows your metabolism and only increases your calorie consumption. They provide you with no nutrition or sustenance and will use up your permitted calories without satisfying your appetite. Ensure that you only drink sports drinks when you have been doing high-intensity workouts since they also have too much sugar in them. Plain water is the best drink to rehydrate and replenish yourself. Even fruit juices are unhealthy since they have a ton of added sugar.
As much as we all love pizza, it is just another form of fast food that you should never eat after a workout. Depending on the toppings you choose, you might be adding a ton of fat and salt into your system, slowing down your metabolism and depleting your electrolytes. There is also a lot of grease on pizza, so you will gain back all the calories you managed to work off. Cheese, dough, sausage, and pepperoni all have many calories and a high-fat percentage.
Although you need protein after a workout, you should avoid consuming bacon. Opt for better protein sources like eggs or lean poultry instead. Bacon has a lot of fat and calories, so you must eat it in small portions. It is also best to eat it at the start of your day, so you have a greater opportunity to burn off those calories over an extended period. Bacon is very slow to metabolize, especially after a high-intensity workout, so it can potentially slow down your entire digestive system and waste the energy and metabolic spike you achieved during your training.
Carbohydrates are essential for your post-workout recovery, but be careful what kinds of food you get them from. Pastries and baked goods like donuts have many calories and carbs but offer virtually no nutrition or health benefits. They will clog your arteries and damage your heart health because they have so much fat and sugar packed in those tiny bites. You are more likely to eat more than one serving and still feel hungry, despite how many calories you have ingested.
Anything like your favorite chips, crackers, or cookies is not a good post-workout snack. All of that salt can lower your potassium and deplete your electrolytes. Potassium is one of the most critical minerals after you exercise because it helps your body recover and is necessary for your cell functions. Chips add empty calories and leave you lacking even more nutrients. You’ll still feel hungry after you eat a bag of pretzels, so you should stay away from all of your favorite salty snacks.
Dark chocolate is a great snack because it satisfies your sweet tooth and provides proper nutrients. It is antioxidant-rich and fights off inflammation and radicals in your body. Milk chocolate, though, has no nutrients and a ton of sugar, giving you nothing but empty calories. The energy you get from a chocolate bar will be brief, but you’ll crash harder due to the sugar content.
The most surprising food item on this list is probably raw vegetables. Although they are incredibly healthy for you and provide the necessary vitamins for your body’s functions, they don’t have enough calories. Vegetables are too low in fat, protein, and carbs to satisfy your appetite and need independently. Eat them with a side of peanut butter, hummus, or yogurt for a protein-packed snack. Remember to avoid sugary and fatty dips.
No matter how hungry you are, it would be best if you tried avoiding these ten foods when deciding on an after-workout meal. Opt for healthier snacks like post-workout protein shakes, bananas, bagels, or eggs.