If you workout and you want to get a lean body, then you surely know that exhausting yourself in the gym will not do you much good: for the best results, you must combine cardio and weight training with a balanced, nutritious and healthy diet. There are foods and supplements people are advised to consume prior to the workout, to give them an energy boost and to help them improve their focus. On the other hand, there are several foods that wreak havoc both on your health and on your waistline, and it would be a shame to ruin your workout progress for a late-night food crave. Here are some of the worst post workout foods that you should avoid at all costs:
1. Salty snacks of all kind
It is not uncommon to feel the need for something salty after your workout, given the fact that when you sweat your body eliminates nutrients along with water (including potassium). You can opt for a healthy meal and replenish your potassium levels quickly and naturally, without using salt tablets or salty snacks, as they are usually high in calories. Instead of snacks, eat a banana or some dry pieces of fruits. Bananas are known for their high amounts of potassium, and they are surely a healthier alternative to snacks.
2. Sugary products and sodas
There is no bigger mistake one can do after a workout than eating sugary products or drinking soda. You workout because you want to shed the excess fat and to get a ripped body: having said that, why eat sugary products knowing that they contain plenty of calories? Sugar is known for its devastating long-term effects on the body, and one of these side effects is slowing down the metabolism. Your metabolism plays an important role in the weight loss process: the faster your metabolism, the faster you will get the body you have always dreamed of. Always read the labels of the products you are about to consume, and avoid sugary products.
On the other hand, sodas are equally harmful as they cause bloating. If you really feel the need to drink something other than water and natural fruit juice is not an option, then go for unsweetened ice tea. This will keep you hydrated and will calm the cravings.
3. Fatty foods and snacks
This is an obvious point, but many bodybuilders and regular people who workout just to stay in shape binge on fatty foods right after they workout. Avoid fast foods, fatty snacks, oily foods, French fries and such. Do not forget that your main goal is to reduce the overall amount of fat, not to increase it. At the same time, your body needs to produce more glycogen, an important substance produced and stored in the muscles and liver. Fatty foods will surely not come in handy for that, not to mention that they will also elevate your levels of LDL cholesterol (also known as the “bad cholesterol”) and they will put you at high risk for heart disease in the long run.
4. Raw vegetables
While it is true that raw fruits and vegetables should not miss from a healthy diet, it is important to have a healthy and balanced diet, not to focus exclusively on vegetables. During the workout, your body uses almost all its energy and it burns a significant amount of calories: raw vegetables alone will certainly not help you supplement the loss of precious nutrients, vitamins and minerals. In other words, your post workout meal should not consist exclusively of raw vegetables, you need some extra fiber and protein to support the muscle development. Vegetables are great, healthy and low in fat, but they are simply not good enough as post workout recovery foods because they cannot help you maintain a steady metabolic rate.
5. Milk chocolate
Milk chocolate is known to contain hundreds of calories but, on the other hand, if you consume milk chocolate in moderation it can actually benefit you. As a matter of fact, studies have revealed that milk chocolate and dark chocolate can improve your memory and boost the cognitive function. Moreover, dark chocolate has antioxidants that lower the risk for cancer and also fight the free radicals that damage your body cells: if you have a sweet tooth, it is highly recommended to consume chocolate before the workout, rather than after the workout. This way, you will get the chance to burn the extra calories and indulge yourself with a sweet delight, it’s a win-win!
In spite of its health benefits, chocolate is simply not an inspired choice after a hardcore workout because it will not give you the nutrients you need to recharge your body after intense training.
While it is true that pastries will make you feel full for longer, they are certainly not a great meal choice after a workout. Your body needs high-quality carbohydrates to replace the lost glycogen during the workout, and although pastries are full of carbs, they are not a reliable or healthy source of nutrients given the fact that they carry a lot of carbs. Rather than that, opt for whole wheat toast or dry fruits, as mentioned above. Avoid pastries and donuts at all costs.
7. Energy bars
Last, but not least, energy bars are designed to give you the fuel and energy you need before the workout, not after the workout: unfortunately, many people seem to confuse these aspects and they eat the energy bars after an intense training session. As you may already know, these bars are filled with sugar which decreases your metabolism and stimulates the production of fat. Besides, the bars will also increase your energy levels, which means that you will have a hard time falling asleep at night, if you eat them after the evening workout. Either way, steer clear from post workout energy bars as they will do you more harm than good.
To conclude, these are seven of the worst post workout foods that can wreak havoc on your weight and get you back to where you started. Rather than consuming the foods mentioned above, focus on high-quality meals that will give you the proteins and carbohydrates your body needs.