There is nothing better than a quick snack and a cold beverage after a tough workout. After all, your body needs to begin replacing the nutrients that you used up while powering through your exercise routine. But be extra careful about what you put into your body after a long run or a tough session at the gym. Not all foods provide the fuel you need to kick-start your recovery, and some things can actually be detrimental to the process. Here are six foods you should avoid eating right after your workout.
Snacks That Are High In Sugar
After a long workout, it’s easy to grab a sugary snack such as a donut, candy bar, or pastry; they not only taste good but can be filling too. But sugar is high in calories, which negates everything you just burned off while exercising. On top of that, sugar can also slow down your metabolism, which defeats the purpose of your workout. If you’re working out to lose weight, these types of snacks will definitely be counterproductive. Go with a piece of toast or a bagel instead.
Avoid Salty Foods Too
There are some who believe that eating something salty after working out helps to replace sodium in your body. While that is true on some level, eating salty foods can also lower the level of potassium in your system, which is a far more important nutrient when it comes to post-workout recovery. Avoid potato chips, French fries, pretzels, or similar foods; grab a banana instead. Everyone knows that they are rich in potassium and can help you recover more efficiently.
Put Down The Soda
While it is certainly true that you’ll need to rehydrate after a workout, soda is simply not the right choice to do so. Sure, your body can use the liquid, but since most sodas contain high amounts of sugar, you’ll get the same results as the snacks listed above, including lots of calories and a slowing of the metabolism. On top of that, soda can make you feel bloated, particularly when you’re deprived of nutrients. Stick with water or a sports drink if you need to replace electrolytes too.
Skip The Fast Food
After a tough workout, it is incredibly tempting to just swing by a fast food restaurant on the way home and grab a burger and fries. After all, you’ve earned it, right? It’s okay to cheat on your diet from time to time by having some decadent meals, but eating fast food right after your workout isn’t the way to go. These types of foods are very high in fats, which can slow down digestion and cause your body to store more fat, which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid in the first place. Skip the drive-thru and head home to make a more healthy and sensible meal instead.
Pass On The Raw Vegetables
I know this one sounds a bit counterintuitive, but it’s true. Raw vegetables are important to a healthy diet, but they simply don’t contain enough sustenance to help you regain all of the vitamins and nutrients that you’ve burned off while exercising. Additionally, vegetables provide very few calories, which means they won’t give you the energy you need to recover after a workout. As if that weren’t enough, they can also be tough to digest and can be rough on an empty stomach. A better choice is to eat some protein or fiber to help get your body back on track.
Say No To Energy Bars
While eating an energy bar before a workout can provide extra fuel, snacking on one after you’ve finished exercising is a bad idea. Most energy bars are high in sugar, which again will slow down your metabolism at a time when you want to allow your body to burn through its fat stores. Even after your workout is done, you’ll continue to burn calories for a time, but adding a dose of sugar will make that process less efficient.
A little common sense goes a long way in terms of knowing what you should–and shouldn’t–eat after you exercise. Stick to items that can help you replenish the vitamins, nutrients, and calories that you burned, and you’ll be fine. But mix in things that aren’t exactly healthy, and you’ll end up undermining your fitness routine. Why would you want to work so hard at the gym only to offset those positive gains with poor eating habits?