Post-Workout - To Eat or Not to Eat? That is the question!

It’s a dilemma isn’t it?

I’m sure that many of you have the mentality that it’s counter-productive to consume anything, other than water, after a workout. I mean, hey, you’ve spent so much effort and time at the gym burning off those calories, just to PUT IT BACK?!

In this Fitness Bites, we’re going to discuss a little more about post-workout nutrition and why it’s, contrary to popular believe, counter-productive to NOT eat after a workout.

Here’s the scenario - you’ve had a long day at the office. Probably snacked quite a bit sitting at that desk all day. After work, you head to the gym to pump some iron, do some yoga, whatever your “poison” may be, to burn off those excess calories stored during the day.

After your session, you head home without so much as having a drink of water, watch some TV, check a couple of emails, and hit the hay – feeling satisfied that you’ve worked off those extra biscuits at the office.

The very next morning, you feel exhausted, ach-y, probably in a foul mood, and definitely starving. On the way to the office, you grab a packet of stir-fried bee hoon with a chicken wing, fried egg, some veggies and, maybe a little extra noodles. I mean hey, I’ve skipped a meal after an intense session the night before didn’t I? I deserve to “treat myself”. And I’d do the same tonight. No biggie.

Sound familiar? Don’t be shy. Been there, done that.

Here’s the thing, it not about that morning packet of calorie ridden bee hoon that’s doing the damage. Believe it or not, starving yourself is. I used to think the same, and done pretty much the same things as most of you out there. I’d skip meals after a full-on workout session and head straight to bed. I’d feel good about myself (for awhile). But, as time went on, I realized several changes in my physical abilities at the gym, or at the bars, my mood, attention span and focus.

After an intense workout session, your body goes into a catabolic state, as during your workout, your muscles use its’ glycogen stores for fuel. At the end of the workout is when glycogen has been depleted, forcing your body to consume the protein in your muscles for fuel. Resulting in a whole host of damage such as; hypoglycaemia, dehydration, muscular damage, and much much more. These can cause severe fatigue, disoriented, cardiac arrhythmia, and intense sores. And ultimately, sabotaging your own fitness goals.

So, as illogical and counter-productive as it might sound, eating after a workout is actually beneficial and exactly what your body needs at that moment. But of course, when we say eat, we’re talking about clean wholesome foods. NO! Doughnuts doesn’t count.

Here are some foods you can consider to build your very own balanced Post-Workout Meal;

Balancing Between the Proteins, Carbs, (Good) Fats and Time

The good news is, YOUR HARDWORK’S DONE! It’s time for your body to do its’ thing and repair those micro-tears you’ve sustained during your training. So, it’s imperative that you choose the right time & foods to consume after your workout. This takes a little planning in advance, but, no sweat (no pun intended), we’re going to give you a few pointers on what to pick as your post-workout meal!

IMPORTANT: You might be those who experiences appetite loss after working out, but; DO NOT SKIP MEALS! Grabbing a small snack is better than none at all. Can’t think of anything? Check out our menu of On-The-Go Snacks that taste superb, made all-natural with wholefoods, and jam-packed with all those essential nutrients your body needs right after a session - perfect as an after workout pick-me-up/ recovery snack.

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Time

Before we get into those munchies, let’s talk timing.

What you eat and when you eat is crucial; more so when you’ve gone extremely hard during your grind.

So, when’s the best time to get those nutrients in? Research has shown that the golden timing is anywhere between 30-45 mins after your workout. Anything after, the rate of absorption decreases by almost 50%.

But remember, hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE first. This helps to break down the foods you’re about to consume, making it much easier for your body to make use of those essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

Foods

Protein

  1. Protein

Like we mentioned above, working out breaks down the muscle protein, and the rate of which depends on the type and intensity of the workout. Thus, it goes without saying that you’re definitely going to need to replenish those proteins.

What’s good?

  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Chicken Breast (we like then baked)
  • Tuna (Canned is fine, plus, they’re super cost-effective)
  • Granola Nut Bars
  1. Carbohydrates
    When you go hard at the gym, your body uses immense amounts of glycogen to keep you fuelled. Now it’s time to get in back into your system and aid the recovery process.

What’s good?

  • Rolled Oats (Skip the instant stuff, that’s just been overly processed and sugar ridden)
  • Roasted Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Brown Rice/ Black Rice
  • Wholemeal Pasta
  • Leafy Greens (Fresh is Best)
  1. Fats

Oh yes, you heard right, the taboo word – FATS. Remember, not all fats are bad. There are good fats which your body desperately needs to keep it functioning right; such as those found in salmon. In this case, fat actually helps to slow down the rate of digestion, which helps to keep you fuller for longer.

What’s good?

  • Trail Mix
  • Avocado
  • Dark Chocolate (Min. 70% Dark)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (The good stuff please)
  • Cheese
  • Whole Milk (Someone say chocolate milk?)
There you have it, a quick guide on making the most of your post-workout meal. We can’t stress this enough, HAVE SOMETHING TO EAT after your workout. The damage your boy goes through, skipping meals, out-weights the cost of that initial “feel good” moment of “calorie burn”.