If you’re exercising to lose weight, a post workout snack may seem like an effort in counter-productivity. In truth, you should have a good snack after every session even if you’re not hungry.
Most people will fall into one of two groups after they complete their exercises. The first group is absolutely starving and craves huge amounts of sugary, fatty foods. I fall into that group. The second group doesn’t feel hungry at all. In fact, many find that exercising will kill off the feeling of hunger they might have had before they exercised.
Though you may think that second group is luckier because they don’t crave a huge post workout snack, this may not be an advantage. The reason is that the drive to eat after a workout is important – provided you can control it.
What Does a Post-Workout Snack Do?
With the right refueling strategy, you can actually accelerate your way toward your goals. This is the case regardless of whether you’re aiming for fitness, weight loss or both. That’s right, you can lose more weight by eating after you exercise than by starving yourself.
Research shows that post workout snacks, particularly after a long workout, are highly beneficial. Exercising stimulates ghrelin, a hormone that results in hunger sensations. This process can continue for up to 3 hours after your exercise. If you don’t eat promptly, you’ll be struck by hunger sooner or later.
This hunger attack might happen right after your workout or later on, but it will happen. This feeling risks causing you to make poor food choices guided only by hunger. Moreover, if you delay refueling, you also delay your recovery. Your muscles need food to heal up from your workout.
Choose a Smart Post Workout Snack
You don’t need to eat something huge to get a good post workout snack that will do the trick. In fact, something lighter is often better. Choose something inside of an hour of completing your exercising. Then, try to focus on eating some good quality carbs to give your muscles fast energy, as well as a bit of protein to kill your hunger and provide the body with what it needs to heal.
Some great options include a banana, plain yogurt with berries, a banana, or a cube of cheese with an apple. Try to avoid high sugar options or swamping yourself with calories for your post. Keep in mind that this includes many high-cal smoothies.