An extensive, fulfilling workout comes with a follow up of a lot of feelings – you feel invincible, inspired and often, a tad bit hungry too. While it's not wrong to treat yourself after a particularly hard training session, what you really need to watch out for is the kind of food that could absolutely wreck all the hard work and labor you just put in.
Post-workout food is essential to not only restore energy but also to help build the muscles and boost metabolism. Which means, while your body is repairing from the exertion you put it through, you must absolutely stay away from meals that are hard to digest or have high sugar content and is loaded with saturated fats.
Keeping that in mind, here's a list of all the surprising, devil 'treats' that you should not even consider after a workout:
1. Spicy Food
Say a momentary goodbye to anything with salsa, sriracha or hot sauce right after your workout. "Your body just accomplished a major effort and is a state of repair," Michelle Neverusky, fitness manager of Carillon Miami Beach told Eat This, Not That.
"It needs things that are easy to digest, a little protein, a little sugar to bring your sugar levels back to an even keel, and mostly carbohydrates to replenish your energy levels."
2. Heavy proteins like steak
Much like spicy food, a thick, juicy steak is extremely hard to digest. "If you're bulking up, you want to add a high carb ratio like tuna and rice; but if you are leaning out, you want to avoid carbs and drink a protein shake to retain the muscles."
3. Energy bars
As surprising as this might seem, Annie Lawless, health/wellness expert and founder of Blawnde.com shared with the outlet that "in reality, most of the bars on the market are mostly sugar and no more nutritionally-sound than a candy bar.
"And I'm not talking about natural sugar, either; many bars contain refined white sugar and high fructose corn syrup, making them a nightmare for your blood sugar."
4. Sport drinks
As perfect for hydrating the system as this might seem, "The high sugar content in sports drinks make them unnecessary post-workout when your body doesn't need the extra glucose running through your bloodstream," explains Lawless.
"If you feel drained and in need of glucose replacement, reach for coconut water or a healthy smoothie. A syrupy sports drink will just cause your blood sugar to spike violently when you don't need it."
5. Raw vegetables
"The problem is how filling raw veggies can be when your body needs serious replenishment," says Lawless. "After a tough workout, you need calories, high-quality carbohydrates, and protein. If you fill up on raw veggies that take a lot of volume in the stomach and make you feel full very quickly, you won't be getting the right amount of nutrients or calories you need post workout."
6. Fried eggs
Eggs are the ideal form of protein intake one could opt for post workout, but only as long as it's raw or hard-boiled. Eggs over-easy or sunny-side-up comes loaded with saturated fats – something that's not at all your friend after a heavy workout.
7. Black beans
They have a high fiber count of 15 grams, which slows down the digestive process," says Susan Albers, Psy.D of the Cleveland Clinic. To top that, "It's likely that eating beans post-workout will just make you gassy," she adds.
8. Protein shakes
"Many meal replacement drinks on the market are filled with junk that will actually hinder your post-workout success," says FITFUSION trainer Andrea Orbeck. "Avoid labels with chemical sugars like aspartame, artificial flavors, and colors. If real food can't be an option, go for ones with basic ingredients."
9. No sides of water
"At all costs, avoid having 'nothing but water,'" explains Neverusky. "Your body wants to recharge. If you don't eat, your body will eat the muscle you just put on during the workout. Be sure to feed your body correctly."
"Sorry to be a buzzkill, but booze should never be at the finish line," says Orbeck. "Drinking after training dehydrates you, reduces protein synthesis, and packs on empty calories. Instead, clink your fork and knife together as you celebrate with a lean chicken breast and side of sweet potato."