While I realize everyone’s goals are different. I think it’s safe to say most people who follow my blog want to look and more importantly, FEEL their best. If that’s not what you want, then this particular article probably isn’t for you… But I doubt that’s the case! =)
I read a status on my Facebook newsfeed today by an acquaintance, which inspired this post. I don’t think I’ve ever confronted this issue head-on, surprisingly enough. It’s a pretty common mindset… “I worked out… now I can eat whatever I want!” Unless you want to undo all of your hard work, this isn’t the case! Ever heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”? Well it’s true! Results are 80% nutrition. If you aren’t eating to meet your goals, you’re wasting the hard work you put forth in the gym!
Does this way of thinking sound like anyone you know? Perhaps even yourself? If it is, there is an important reality you need to face.
You CANNOT out-train a bad diet. You can’t eat tons of unhealthy junk food all the time, and expect to feel and look fantastic. Just because you worked out, does not mean you should go out and eat a greasy burger and that pint of Ben & Jerry’s… Unless of course you want to undo all of your hard work! While Olympic level athletes like Michael Phelps who burn upwards of 12,000 calories a day might need to eat these kinds of foods to keep their energy levels up, it is unlikely that you need to. Of course it’s fine to indulge every once in awhile, but keep in mind that doing so frequently is going to significantly hinder your progress.
If you want to reward yourself after a workout or for reaching a goal, why not try something other than food? Perhaps indulge in a trip to the spa, a manicure, a new dress, a trip to the beach or even just the enjoyment of knowing what great things you just did for your body!
In case you hadn’t heard this before and are unsure what to eat… Here is a very basic explanation =)
Promptly after your workout, have a protein shake and simple carbohydrate. (This doesn’t mean you have to guzzle it down the moment you set down your final weight, but try to consume it as soon as you can). Right after a resistance training workout, your body needs fast-acting protein to begin the reparation process. A protein powder is the optimal way to achieve this! Whey is a staple in my post-workout nutrition, however if you are allergic, there are plenty of other options! The simple carbohydrate helps shuttle the protein to the muscles. This is one of the rare times of day where your body will use the simple carb for energy and the rise in blood sugar is actually beneficial! Avoid eating fats (even the healthy kind) right after your workout, as it slows the digestive process, defeating the whole purpose behind the simple carb and whey protein shake. Within the hour after training, also try to have a regular meal. This meal should be designed to continue providing your body with the nutrients it needs to rebuild itself and replenish glycogen stores.
If you aren’t sure where to start… here are a few tasty and healthy meal options! Keep in mind that portion sizes are important too, even if the food you are eating is healthy! Measuring cups and kitchen scales are great ways to keep track so you don’t overdo it!
- Cottage Cheese and Mixed Berries
- Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt and a Banana
- Scrambled Eggs and Old-Fashioned Oatmeal
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast with Green Veggies and Brown Rice
- Quinoa tossed with Sauteed Onion and Bell Peppers
Try to consume your post-workout meal within an hour after your training. Depending on your goals, a combination of lean protein and complex carbs is a great post-workout plan.
“Eat to meet long-term goals, not short-term satisfaction.” Here are a bunch of other articles I’ve written about clean eating and nutrition! Click ME Click ME!!!
Happy training! =)