How to Decide on Your Post Workout Meal
A guest blog on a subject that can be helped with the use of weighted decision matrix.
Congratulations on starting out on a brand new fitness schedule to meet your weight loss and body weight goals. And as most newbies go, you are still grappling with what exactly you need to do after you have had a gruelling gym session. Do you reach out for that protein shake recommended by your friendly trainer? Do you head out to the nearest fast food joint to reward yourself with food? Or do you stare blankly at your kitchen wondering what you need to eat or drink? Here are some tips that can help you in deciding what you need to do immediately after your workout and help in preventing any mistakes that can nullify your fitness goals.
Your first priority after a workout should be to replace the fluids you have lost in sweating and burning off calories. According to sports nutritionists and dieticians, guzzling water is not only helpful in reducing appetite but it also helps in quenching your thirst and rehydrating your body. Remember, however, not to consume water in massive quantities as too much water or any other fluid can result in water intoxication because of the low levels of salt in the body.
Keep refuelling along the way
If you are training for a marathon or a long bike ride, carry a sports drink bottle with you or suck down a sports gel that can help you from feeling ravenously hungry afterwards. Workouts that last longer than two hours need to be refuelled along the way. According to research, people who digest fewer calories after exercise are usually the ones who take in small quantities of carbs during exercise. Individuals who do this have a lower calorie intake over a 24 hour period (including the workout), since they have been fuelling up during the workout session. More importantly, by refuelling yourself during your gruelling training sessions, you will realise that you also do not run out of steam halfway. Look at consuming approximately 30g to 55g of carbohydrates, which is approximately 150 to 220 calories, every hour after the first hour of the workout. Keep away from anything that is protein related, as it takes a long time for the stomach to digest.
Consuming fewer calories than needed
If you are of the opinion that you are burning more calories than usual and rewarding yourself daily with heavy meals, make use of a heart rate monitor to exactly estimate your calorie burn and prevent bad food choices. A heart rate monitor can be wound around the wrist as a watch, along with a sensor strapped around the chest that synchronises wirelessly together and accurately monitors calorie burn and heart rate. Hence if your heart rate monitor reveals that you have burnt 500 calories, it is not an excuse to wolf down a 500 cal milkshake. Look at smaller and lighter snacks especially if you are trying to lose weight as the lesser calories you consume the faster will be your weight loss.
Are usually hungry?
Although you have heard that the cardinal rule of a post workout session is to consume something immediately after the exercise for your muscles to recover, the truth is you might not actually need to. For instance you would have finished up a tough run and you are aching to hit the gym for weight training. In this case, it is important that you have something to eat. But if you have taken a few days off before hitting the gym, you probably do not need to worry about refuelling your body immediately. If you are not feeling hungry, do not force yourself to eat. You can save those calories for your next meal when you are actually hungry. Listen to your hunger cues and eat accordingly.
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