If you’re like most people, you make sure to put in the time and effort when it comes to your Post-Workout–but what happens afterward? Many people don’t pay much attention to their food choices after exercising. This can significantly impact how quickly your body recovers from physical activity, so choosing the right snack or meal is just as important as adhering to any other sports nutrition guideline.
To help ensure all of your hard work pays off with results, this article will be breaking down some of the worst foods for post-workout fuel. Keep reading if you want clearer insight into which types of food should appear more sparingly in an optimal diet plan!
The Importance Of Post-Workout Nutrition
After a strenuous workout, replenishing the body with proper nutrition is essential for maintaining health and helping it recover. Proper post-workout nutrition helps repair muscles and restore energy levels, aiding muscle growth and keeping the heart and other organs functioning optimally. Eating shortly after a workout also helps to keep your metabolism revved, which aids in healthy weight management.
Eating properly is essential for athletes seeking better performance results; following up an intense training session with proper post-workout nutrition is paramount for boosting recovery time and improving overall health outcomes. Optimal nutrient benefits are found when consuming a combination of protein and carbohydrates within an hour of working out, as these compounds refuel muscle cells. The timing of post-workout meals should be adjusted accordingly to correspond with the type of exercise being done–those engaging in anaerobic exercise need to consume nutrients sooner than those focusing on aerobic activities.
8 Worst Foods To Eat Post-Workout
Eating energy bars post-workout may seem like a great idea, providing those exercised muscles with much-needed nutrition. However, energy bars are often full of sugar and fats that could ultimately be detrimental to your health.
Not only do these unhealthy ingredients fail to provide the proper nutrients your workout demands, but they can also negatively affect your health in the long run, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. By opting for a natural food source of protein or carbohydrates following exercise, you can get all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs while avoiding long-term health concerns.
Candy And Sweets
Eating candy and sweets after a workout may seem like a great way to reward yourself – but in reality, it’s far from ideal. Not only can the high sugar content give you an energy crash, but there are also other nutritional risks to be aware of. Consuming candy and sweets post-workout can interfere with your body’s natural process of restoration.
Eating this type of food will overload your body with empty calories, resulting in increased fat storage instead of helping you build or maintain muscle mass. Plus, most candy and sweets lack essential vitamins and minerals that your bodies need to repair muscles and replenish necessary nutrients after a workout. Therefore, nutritionists recommend eating healthier foods post-workout, such as foods high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and antioxidants.
Eating fried foods post-workout is not recommended due to their high-fat levels, which can lead to digestive discomfort. Fried foods, such as French fries and fried chicken, tend to take longer to digest, requiring more energy than other types of food in the digestive process, which can interfere with the recovery process and limit overall conditioning improvements. Additionally, fried foods contain unhealthy saturated fats, which can clog arteries over time, increasing risks for cardiovascular disease.
These types of fats are also linked with increased cholesterol levels. Eating fried foods a few days after an intense physical activity session can also lead to slower muscle growth as it inhibits protein conversion into muscle tissue from the increased stress on the digestive system. To ensure maximum benefits from your training sessions, try snacking on fruits or carbohydrates that are low in fat for post-workout snack options.
After a workout, many people turn to red meat for its protein and iron. However, this type of post-workout food choice can do more harm than good. Red meats contain an abundance of saturated fat, contributing to inflammation of the muscles and joints after working out. This can lead to increased soreness, stiffness, and joint discomfort while significantly negating any benefits from the exercise session.
For those who want to refuel correctly after a workout, lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, and fish provide the nutrients with lower amounts of unhealthy fats. Additionally, consuming red meat can increase your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Vegetarian sources like beans and lentils are good alternatives that promote muscle recovery.
Drinking alcohol post-workout is counterintuitive and can be detrimental to your body. Not only does it lack any nutritional value, but it will also prevent the body from rehydrating and recovering faster. As the liver works to process the alcohol, the energy used for recovery reduces. Furthermore, alcohol has a diuretic effect, further dehydrating the body and making it difficult for them to rebuild tissue damaged during exercise.
While you may feel relaxed after having a drink post-workout, this feeling is short-lived as your muscles and organs start feeling the side effects of consuming alcohol instead of nutritious foods after intense physical activity.
Not only will you gain little to no benefits from an alcoholic drink after exercising, but your performance may worsen in subsequent workouts due to excessive dehydration caused by this unhealthy habit. To get the most out of your workout, abstaining from drinking afterward and instead opting for healthy snacks rich in protein will ensure your body recovers quickly while keeping yourself energized and ready for your next session.
High-Fat Dairy Products
High-Fat Dairy products are not ideal to eat post-workout, as they can slow digestion and prevent other quick-digesting carbohydrates and proteins needed to recover from a workout. Moreover, high-fat dairy products are laden with saturated fats. This means these products are high in calories and can lead to weight gain and clogged arteries if consumed in excess.
Eating these types of dairy post-workout can also cause bloating and digestive issues, compromising your nutrition timing. It is best to stay away from high-fat dairy after a workout so you can get the most out of your recovery process with light meals of simple carbohydrates and protein.
Excessive consumption of sugary beverages post-workout is not recommended, as they are often laden with empty calories. Studies have shown that athletes who enjoy sugary drinks after exercise tend to consume more calories than their bodies require or can use them effectively and consequently gain weight.
These same beverages can also interfere with the positive effects of the workout since too much sugar makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients and water, two components essential for muscle repair and growth after a demanding workout session. Furthermore, these sugary drinks usually provide little useful energy, as the body uses up most of its stored glucose during stiff intense exercising. Replenishing the water and rebuilding glycogen in your muscles should be prioritized over any other beverage you might encourage yourself with post-exercise.
Processed meats, such as hot dogs, deli meat, and jerky, are generally unhealthy and should not be included in a post-workout meal. Processed meats contain high amounts of sodium and nitrates, which can strain the kidneys and leave you feeling bloated. Some studies also suggest that regularly eating processed meats can increase one’s risk of certain types of cancer.
Post-workout, you want to focus on replenishing your body with lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats that will help rebuild muscle – processed meats are not the best choice for this purpose. Focusing on more nutritious options such as grilled chicken breast or vegan options like lentils or tofu will better satisfy your post-workout hunger.
Stop Eating These Foods Post-Workout Today!
While healthy post-workout nutrition is emphasized throughout the fitness community, it can be easy to make unhealthy decisions after a long, demanding workout session. The foods above are some of the worst foods to eat post-workout. Consuming these items after exercise can prevent you from getting the most out of your workout, as they can be challenging to digest and lack essential nutrients needed for muscle recovery and growth. Therefore, focusing on light meals of simple carbohydrates and protein is best to ensure your body gets the energy it needs after a workout.