An intense workout shouldn’t give you license to eat burgers and fries. Here are 5 tips that can help you preserve the work you did at the gym.
Completing a workout feels great, especially when you get ravenously hungry and feel like you deserve to treat yourself with something caloric and delicious. Sadly, we tend to overestimate the amount of exercise we do, resulting in us eating more calories than we burned in the first place.
The body works in interesting ways after finishing a workout. If you were hungry before working out, all the strain and effort once you begin to move will force your blood to other parts of your body, making you forget your hunger for the duration of your exercise and maybe for a couple of hours afterwards. Now, once you get hungry, expect some intense cravings that will be hard to manage.
Here are five things you can do to eat healthy-ish and preserve your hard work at the gym:
Don’t force yourself to eat
Some athletes believe they should eat within an hour after their workouts, increasing their muscle gain. Sometimes the body doesn’t work that way and you shouldn’t force yourself to eat if you don’t want to. If you worked out and are not feeling hungry it’s totally natural; focus on hydrating and eat once you want to.
After a tough session in the gym it’s natural to crave burgers and milkshakes. While you can do this on occasions, you shouldn’t make a habit of this. No matter how hard you worked out, it’s likely that you’ll lose most (if not all) of your work by going to the nearest McDonald’s. Think with your brain and not with your stomach.
Before, during and after a work out it’s important to hydrate your body. Doing this will help your body recover and will make it easier for you to work out the next day and avoid sore muscles. While some athletes weight themselves before and after they work out – that way knowing how much liquids they need to drink – a simple way of keeping track of your hydration is to keep an eye on the color of your urine. You should be aiming for a clear yellow.
Replenish what your body lost
Your post work out meal should replenish the elements your body lost while working out. You’re mainly going to need proteins, carbs, sodium, potassium and water.
Stock up on proteins and veggies
Healthline recommends a meal that contains protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Foods like oatmeal, yogurt, quinoa, avocado, and more, contain plenty of nutrients that your body will soak up after a workout.