Think you’ll slim down faster if you skip eating after a workout? Think again. Snacking on the right post-workout foods can actually jump-start your metabolism and help you burn more calories than if you swear off postsweat sustenance. Just be sure to follow these rules.
- Eat it soon: The best time to grab a snack is even before that post-workout glow fades. Eating within 30 minutes of a moderate-to-intense workout will help your body use your food as fuel| refilling lost glycogen stores that your muscles used during your sweat session.Go for lots of carbs (and a little protein): Carbohydrates turn into the glycogen that your muscles need| so focus on getting 1 to 1.5 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight; a 130-pound woman| for example| should aim for about 59 to 87 grams of carbs after a workout. Add 10 to 20 grams of lean protein in order to help muscles repair and recover (bonus: eating protein helps you feel less sore after a workout as well). Don’t forget that each gram of carbohydrate and protein is four calories| so if you’re trying to refuel and lose weight| eat half the amount of carbs within 30 minutes of your workout| and then make up the rest when you eat your next meal. Not sure what healthy options you should go for? Here’s a list of low-calorie post-workout snacks that make the cut.Don’t overdo it: If you’re working out to lose or maintain weight| don’t use your workout as an excuse to indulge in a post-workout feast. The American Council on Exercise recommends assessing your workout to see if it warrants the calories you want to consume. If you didn’t break a sweat or experience labored breathing and an elevated heart rate during your workout| you probably don’t need a snack to recover.
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