You know how it goes – you get off the treadmill or you finish your swim and you’re absolutely starving. You need to eat to replenish your energy and where’s the harm in eating a lovely treat, after all, you’ve deserved it? But stop right there. You do need to refuel after a workout but some foods are better than others. In fact, some foods will actually harm all the hard work you just put in. Here’s what not to eat after your workout, so you can stick to healthy, nourishing choices that benefit your fitness regime.
1) Spicy Foods
Your body needs the chance to repair itself when you finish a workout. Spicy foods are particularly hard to digest and can cause problems. Hot sauce on anything can make it difficult for your body to recover. You need after-workout foods that are easy to digest and bring your sugar and carbohydrate levels back on track.
2) Pre-Made Smoothies
It is really tempting to reach for a bottle of some store-bought smoothie but these drinks usually contain high levels of sugars. Your body stops burning fat when it encounters a sugary drink, so you could be undoing some of your hard work at the gym. Make your own smoothie at home if you need it, and make sure you include a good protein base.
So you thought that the only time you could enjoy chocolate was after a workout? Turns out it’s a big no-no. Don’t have chocolate immediately after exercise as it hampers your efforts to get lean. Your metabolism speeds up after exercise so this is the prime time to keep to a clean diet and super-charge your bodily processes.
4) Energy Bars
Surely energy bars are meant as an after-workout snack? Be careful. Energy bars mostly contain sugar, and therefore are not much better than eating chocolate. You can make your own energy bars using whole ingredients and a natural sugar like honey, but steer clear of store-bought energy bars, even the ones that are designed to give you a protein boost.
Drinking soda will not rehydrate you after your workout. You may think it’s a treat but it really doesn’t help your body. You need liquids but stick to water or you could be piling on the calories and causing bloating for nothing.
6) Salty Snacks
Potato chips and other salty favorites deplete your body of potassium, and you need lots of potassium in the exercise recovery period. Skip the salty items and make sure that a post- workout snack is helping your body recharge its potassium levels.
7) Raw Vegetables
Really? Raw vegetables may be healthy but they do not provide the combination of nutrients you need after a workout. They do not contain enough to give you energy and restore your balance of nutrients. Make them better by combining raw vegetables with a protein snack like a hummus dip.
Drinking alcohol after a training session dehydrates you, and it also fills you with empty calories and undoes all the work you put in on the treadmill. Leave the booze alone after a workout. Refuel with a protein-packed snack or meal and plenty of water.
9) Nothing but Water
On the other hand, it’s also not a good idea to go the virtuous route and skip everything bar a glass of water. You need to eat. Your body needs to recharge. Just make sure that you eat correctly. Water is not enough on its own.
10) Fatty Foods
Fats slow your digestion and delay the delivery of nutrients your body needs. Avoid eating fried foods, seeds, oily food, and nuts immediately after your workout. And don’t go for the fast food option as burgers and fries not only contain lots of fat but plenty of salt, too.
11) Doughnuts, Pastries & Buns
You do need some carbs for replenishing the lost fuel your body needs to get strong, but these carbs are not a good option. They are full of fat and they don’t do anything to your nutrient levels. If you need carbs, try a bagel with peanut butter or whole wheat toast.
12) Sports Drinks
These drinks are marketed especially for this purpose but they are not actually that great. They contain lots of sugar, which your body can do without. Choose a healthy homemade smoothie or some coconut water if you need to replenish your sugars.
13) High Fiber Foods
These foods can cause bloating, indigestion, and cramps when you consume them after a workout. Take it easier and avoid these foods until a little after your exercise.
Eat candy and get a massive sugar crash when the energy wears off. Avoid refined sugar, especially from candy, at any time but particularly after a workout. It is definitely an example of what not to eat after your workout.