A good post work out meal should fuel your system, aid in weight loss, nourish your body and help you to build muscles. For this reason, it’s easy to get confused about what to eat and what not to. I’m sure you don’t want to starve while you’re at it and you don’t want to add more calories either. Instead, you want to eat foods that will help you recover and give you the energy and nutrients needed to get through the next workout session.
Therefore, since you already have an idea of what you should eat before and after a workout, let’s have a look at what foods to avoid after working out.
- Fatty foods
As long as it’s fried or full of spice, stay away from it during a postworkout. Fatty and spicy foods are slow to digest and they delay the delivery of nutrients to the muscles. Besides, Since your body is low in glycogen levels and the proteins are broken down after working out, you don’t want to load up on calories found in fatty foods.
Instead, eat foods that are rich in proteins like eggs, greek yoghurt, fish, or carbohydrates like oats, bananas and, sweet potatoes.
2. Carbonated drinks
It’s normal to feel thirsty during and after a workout. But while water may be safe carbonated drinks are quite the opposite. Studies show that drinking carbonated drinks during and after a workout could lead to kidney damage. Besides if you want to rehydrate and quench your thirst, water is more refreshing. Carbonated drinks on the other hand can cause dehydration and could result in blood glucose problems in the long run.
Aside from sodas and other soft drinks avoid sugary juices too.
3. Caffeinated drinks
Just like soda, caffeinated drinks are equally bad for you if taken immediately after a workout. Caffeine increases cortisol production causing your body to be more responsive and hence increased performance when you’re working out. However, after a workout, you want to replenish the glycogen stores which have been used up and reduce cortisol production rather than increasing it. Caffeine being a stimulant doesn’t only counter this, but it can lead to dehydration and fatigue if taken immediately after a workout.
So why do athletes take it? A research carried out to see how caffeine affects muscle recovery indicates that drinking caffeine after an intense workout, leads to a 66% increase in energy levels, four hours after caffeine consumption. Caffeine also lowers the chances of experiencing delayed onset muscle syndrome if taken after a HIIT session.
Nonetheless, it’s important to note that these results were deduced from athletes who had consumed caffeine alongside a good amount of carbs. Again the training performed at the gym or at home cannot be compared to an athlete’s. Therefore if you’d rather focus on your body’s natural response to stress stay away from caffeine. After all great recovery, health and performance come from better stress management. Additionally, if you want to improve your sleep quality, and optimize muscle growth skipping that cup of coffee might not be too bad after all.
Check out the awesome facts about coffee.
It’s recommended that you take twice the amount of carbs to proteins if you wish to recover from a post-workout sesh. But even though beer and other alcoholic drinks are high in carbohydrates, consuming such after working out leads to more damage than good. Alcohol inhibits the function of hormones such as testosterone, affecting the post-recovery process.
Not only does it slow down the recovery process but since it is a diuretic it leads to dehydration and fluid loss. Alcohol also contains a low nutritive value which makes it a bad choice as a post-recovery drink.
In one study it was found that even a drink containing 4% of alcohol led to an increase in urine output, yet the recovery rate of blood volume was reduced. Afterall drinking nothing would be better.
5. Raw vegetables
After a workout session, you want to prioritise on refuelling your system with high energy foods so you can boost your glycogen levels. Although high in nutritive value and fibre, raw vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, eggplants and salads are still low carb meals. Eating raw vegetables only will not only leave you undernourished but since they cannot provide the energy needed during a post-workout, you might not have enough endurance to make it through the next workout session. High fibre foods like kale can also lead to cramping or bloating making you feel fuller than you’re actually are.
Another nutrient-dense food you should eat at your own peril is beans. They make you gassy.
It is obvious that you should stay away from sugary snacks, desserts and fast foods, after a workout session. Yet sometimes the hunger signals are just too high that you cannot resist snacking. To counter such cravings, don’t stay too long without eating after you finish working out. Ideally, you should eat within 45 minutes after a workout.
You can stay nourished through the day by loading up on calories from real food instead of getting unwanted pesky calories from foods such as chocolate bars, candy, energy bars and sugary drinks.
If you’re craving for healthy fats, pair some nut butter or avocado with slices of whole-grain toast and some fruits.
Check out great foods to eat before a workout