Just as certain foods are essential for the energy and protein you need before a workout, there are also foods you should avoid post-workout in order to prevent undoing all of the hard work that was involved in your workout. In order to get the most of your workouts, it’s best to avoid the following snacks.
When you sweat your body eliminates water and a variety of important nutrients, including potassium, so it isn’t uncommon to crave something salty after working out. But, you should avoid the salty snacks, including pretzel sticks, salted popcorn, saltine crackers, salted nuts and wheat crackers. Instead eat something that is high in potassium, such as a banana, which will replenish your potassium level quicker and naturally, without using salty snacks or salt tablets.
Your body will naturally crave sugar after working out, but one of the worst things you can do to your body after a workout is eat sugary snacks. Sugary products, such as fruit yogurts, yogurt covered raisins or a peanut butter & jelly sandwich contain a lot of calories, not to mention the long-term effects sugar has on the body. Along with replacing the calories you just burnt off, eating sugary snacks will also slow down your metabolism. Your metabolism plays a crucial role in weight loss; the faster your metabolism is, the faster you will burn fat. So, instead of grabbing a bag of candy to refuel after workouts opt for a handful of blueberries or a couple slices of turkey instead.
Fatty Foods and Snacks
As tempting as it is to pull into your favorite fast food drive-thru after leaving the gym, eating these foods will be detrimental to your diet. Eating fatty foods is not replacing the right kinds of salts or fats in your body, instead you will be adding an extra-large dose of trans fats as well as undo all of the hard work you just finished at the gym. The main goal is typically to reduce the overall amount of fat, not increase it. It is also important to give your body the foods it needs to produce more glycogen, which is an essential substance produced and stored in the liver and your muscles. So, forget the French fries, hamburger or pizza and opt for a fresh avocado or potassium-packed banana.
Yes, you read that correctly. While it’s true that raw fruits and vegetables are essential for a healthy, well-balanced diet, they should be avoided immediately after a workout. During your workout, your body uses a large portion of its energy, burns a significant amount of calories and loses a hefty amount of minerals, vitamins and nutrients. Eating only vegetables after a workout simply isn’t substantial enough to replace what you have lost. You will need extra fiber and protein to replenish your stores and to aid in repairing muscle tissue. So, it’s okay to eat some raw vegetables after a workout, but it is important to balance them with other foods, such as a hummus for dipping the veggies in.
If you are craving something sweet after a workout, avoid reaching for your favorite milk chocolate bar. Milk chocolate is loaded with bad fats and glucose, both of which can be detrimental for your health. This doesn’t mean you can’t have any chocolate, in fact snacking on a piece of dark chocolate after a workout will actually be beneficial. Dark chocolate that is 70% cocoa or higher contains antioxidants that will fight the free radicals in your body, work as an anti-inflammatory and replace some of the nutrients you lost while exercising.
Yes, energy bars are known for giving you a boost of energy, but they are intended for use before your workout, not after the workout. Your body needs rest to recover and prepare for your next workout and without the appropriate amount of rest, you could be heading down a path of several different health problems. Energy bars are filled with sugar, which stimulates the production of fat and decreases your metabolism, which means if you eat them in the evening after a workout, you will have a hard time falling asleep.
Pastries, such as muffins, donuts and scones will help you feel fuller longer, but they can have a negative effect on your workout and your health in general. Your body needs carbohydrates to replace glycogen lost during your workout, but pastries contain a lot of unhealthy carbohydrates, such as sugar, salt, fat and calories as opposed to the high-quality carbohydrates and protein your body needs. Instead opt for a handful of raw nuts or a piece of multi grain toast, which will give your body the fiber and protein it craves.
One of the most important things you can do to get the most out of your workouts is to remember the importance of eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. It is important to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, but it is also important to not limit your meals to only fruits and vegetables. Your body needs extra doses of fiber and protein to replenish what you lose during workouts. It is also essential that you drink plenty of water before, during and after every workout.