If you go hard at the gym, then you probably come home ravenous and ready to eat everything in your kitchen. It’s similar to the feeling you had when you’d come home after school during puberty and your parents couldn’t keep the pantry stocked enough to keep up with your hungry hormones. But, unlike when you were a developing teenager, your body can no longer handle a pop tart, a slice of cold pizza, apple sauce, a Snickers and ramen noodles all in one sitting. Not even all in one day, if we’re honest. That is especially true on the days you exercise. Your body is in a unique state after a workout and you can either capitalize on some of the changes happening inside of it, or destroy them, depending on what you eat. Here are foods to avoid after a workout.
Carrots and celery
While these usually make a perfectly healthy snack, your body needs protein and carbs right now. You just depleted it of energy and you need to refuel it. A veggie platter isn’t going to make the cut. Go for pita and hummus instead, if you’re in a dipping mood.
Cheese has its merits as a post workout food. But packaged string cheese you find at the grocery store is usually full of extra ingredients that can confuse your metabolism. Stick to pure, low-fat mozzarella.
Any old smoothie
If you want a smoothie after a workout, get one with added protein. This can be whey protein or your favorite nut butter. Your body is ready to burn fat right night, but if you feed it tons of sugar without a protein base, this can interfere with the fat-burning process.
A burger and fries
Since you’ve lost electrolytes during your workout, you’ll be craving some sodium. But don’t get it in the form of a burger and fries, or any favorite drive-thru meal. You’ll ruin all your hard work. You’re better off snacking on pretzels.
Not all protein bars are created equal. You need to look at the sugar to protein ratio. Even if a bar has tons of protein, if it also has tons of sugar, then it will interfere with your metabolizing of the protein.
Don’t stop by the steak house after a workout. It may seem like hunks of meat and muscle go hand in hand, but your body needs lean proteins that are easy to digest right now. Steak doesn’t fit that category.
If you need a quick burst of protein after an intense workout, eggs are a good way to go. But be careful of restaurant scrambles, since these are usually made with high amounts of butter or vegetable oil. If you must have a scramble, make one at home with olive oil.
What’s wrong a BLT? The bacon. You can have a few strips in the morning, but keep in mind that this stuff is not easy on your digestion. It’s similar to steak; it isn’t a lean protein, and your body has to work hard to break it down.
Nothing sounds quite as refreshing as a fizzy soda after a workout. But you need to rehydrate more than ever right now, and a soda will dehydrate you. It will also cause bloat, making your new muscle definition hard to see.
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