Eating after a workout is a very important way to both replenish lost nutrients and encourage better muscle-building. Your metabolism is fired up after your workout, so it will burn through calories at an amazing rate. It will also send nutrients to your muscles and tissues to begin repairing the micro-damage caused by your workout. However, if you want to do post-workout nutrition right, here are foods NOT to eat:
Fatty Fast Food
Fast food is high in calories, carbs, and unhealthy fats, all the things you DON’T want to put in your body. However, they’re especially bad after a workout, as the fat slows down your digestion and prevents your body from replenishing the energy it has used. You want to eat simple carbs but very little fat after a workout!
This may sound odd, but it’s absolutely true: veggies are NOT good for post-workout nutrition. Veggies contain very few calories and no carbs, both of which are needed after a workout. The fiber in the veggies will mess with your revved up digestive system, and you’ll end up using more energy to burn the veggies than you’ll gain.
Yes, you do want to replace the sodium you burned off during your workout, but not in the form of potato chips or pretzels. These junk food snacks are loaded with sodium—more than your body needs after a workout—and are packed with empty calories. Too much sodium can affect your potassium levels, leading to muscle cramps and reduced water retention. Your goal should be to increase POTASSIUM intake after a workout, not sodium.
Whoever told you eating pizza after a workout was a good idea got it VERY wrong! The carbs in the pizza can help to replenish your energy, but you’ll end up eating more calories of fat and empty carbs than you want. A few slices of pizza can counteract any benefits you’ve obtained from your workout. Say no to pizza!
Bacon is a food that contains more fat than protein. It may be delicious and a wonderful breakfast food, but it’s not what you want after your workout. Bacon takes a long time to metabolize (thanks to all the saturated fat), which means it will slow down your metabolism instead of speeding it up. You can include bacon for breakfast if you’re going to work out any time after midday, but not after an early morning workout.
You want to get a little bit of simple sugars, but soda and fruit drinks are ALL simple sugar. A can of soda is hundreds of calories of pure sugar, with no fiber or nutrients to improve its nutritional value. Fruit drinks are the same, and even natural fruit juice isn’t much better. All the fiber has been removed from the fruit juice, meaning there’s only the sugar from the fruit. There are only two liquids you should drink after a workout: water and a protein shake!
Yet another no-no to add to the list! Donuts and pastries are rich in carbs and sugar, but they’re also packed with WAY more calories, fats, and empty carbs than you’d like. A single donut can provide more calories than you just burned during your workout, meaning all your effort was in vain. Plus, the carbs in the donuts or pastries will be broken down and absorbed too quickly, leading to a spike in your blood glucose levels. You should NEVER follow your workout with something as loaded with sugar and empty carbs as a donut or pastry.