How to Avoid Processed Post Workout Energy Drinks and Junk Food
After a really tough workout, the first thing I want to do is go to the fridge, grab a raw piece of meat grill it up, and dig in. Or maybe not even cook it at all. Or maybe devour last night’s pizza. And I have a serious weakness when it comes to Kettle Chips. And it’s good to wash it all down with a sugary fluorescent colored energy drink. Or a beer. Or both. And then I sit back on the couch and veg out.
Post workout laziness when it comes to food, is typical of even the most motivated athletes. That’s why so many people reach for processed, packaged protein bars or drop a scoop of protein powder into a water bottle, shake it up, and call it good for their post workout meal. Or, even worse, many go for the above-mentioned junk foods.
But if you’re trying to put your body into its healthiest, most productive state after a workout, Scottsdale, Arizona-based personal trainer, athletic coach, and nutritionist Bree West says whole foods are essential.
In an interview with Rocket Pure Bree said whole foods provide the full spectrum of nutrients the body needs to support health, building and repair of tissues, and the regeneration of all of the systems of the body.
So how can you get the proper, unprocessed nutrition you need after a workout without having to slave over a hot stove while you’re still dripping sweat down your face? One word – preparation.
Instead of throwing those packaged, processed products with added sugars and preservatives into your bag, take time the night before to prepare your post workout meal. Better yet, Bree says she tells all her clients and athletes to designate a meal prep day to prepare in advance their meals and snacks for the week. Or, alternatively make enough of your healthy Friday or Saturday night meal, that you have leftovers for after your long run or ride the next day.
Why does it really matter?
Your body is like a house.
Bree says macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are like the foundation and building blocks of the house. However, a more important thing to focus on when choosing post workout foods is the “workers” that actually lay the foundation and put everything into place. Without them, you won’t have a very well-built house will you?
Who are the Workers in this Metaphor?
Bree says “workers” are micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients, and other key parts of whole, fresh foods that help the body properly process and utilize the macronutrients you’re taking in.
How Do You Get Good Workers?
Bree’s words to live by when selecting post workout meals are — consider the source!
Whether you’re eating meat, grains, fruit, or anything else, you should focus on whole, organic, hormone free, non-GMO, REAL foods that will provide your body with not only macronutrients to build up the integrity of your “house”, but also micronutrients to get everything where it needs to go when it needs to be there.
Food is powerful. It speaks a language to your cells and communicates to them what to do. What are your post workout meals saying? If they’re saying anything other than, “Don’t worry body… we’re kicking your ass into gear!” then you should consider trying one of these best post workout food choices as post workout fuel for your body.
Fish and Roasted Veggies
Check out this great recipe from Whole Foods! Prepare your serving on meal prep day, and then throw it in the oven the night before your training session for easy post workout eating.
Paleo Spaghetti Pie
Cook this up for dinner, and then use the leftovers for your post workout meal the next day!
DIY Electrolyte Drink
Rather than reaching for Gatorade post-workout, try coconut water or making a homemade electrolyte drink before you leave for your workout. Combine 8oz water, 1/2 lemon, 1/2 lime and a pinch of sea salt.
Bree says planning ahead of time is not just a nice thing to do for those that have time, but it is essential for everyone regardless of varying goals. She reminds all of her clients and athletes that their bodies require health, energy, strength, stamina, and endurance, and if they rely on convenient, grab-and-go bars, shakes, and other processed foods, it’s only going to be a matter of time before one or many of these things go.
Remember the saying “You are what you eat,” so don’t fall into convenient, easy, or cheap, because that becomes a reflection of you. If you care enough to have fitness goals, then it’s absolutely necessary to follow that up with the preparation on your nutritional plan.