What should you eat after a workout? After a good run, a grunt-inducing weightlifting session, or an intense yoga class, even if you don't "feel the burn," your body needs to replenish its reserves and rebuild. But there's just so much advice out there about what you can't have, some of which is good, some of which is bad — "cut out the carbs," "don't eat fat," and New York City's claim to dietary infamy, "lose the soda," — that we decided to flip the discussion on its head and talk about what you can have. And we've busted a few myths, while we were at it.
We consulted a panel of health and fitness experts to help get some good, basic advice.
Joel Harper is a model turned celebrity personal trainer with 18 years of experience. His clients include Dr. Oz and Jason Read (Olympic gold medalist and world record-breaker in rowing) as well as actors and musicians. Harper has made been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine and Esquire, as well as on Good Morning America, Larry King Live, and of course, The Dr. Oz Show. Harper made some great general recommendations to keep in mind about healthy eating habits:
- Have a snack no later than 30 minutes after the end of a workout, since your body is in need of protein and carbohydrates; waiting too long could send you into a panic mode, grabbing the first thing you see, which may not be the healthiest choice.
- In general, consuming small meals throughout the day is better than three large ones because it keeps up your metabolism, keeps blood sugar levels constant, and eliminates hunger pangs.
- Drink more water — Harper recommends drinking half your weight in water each day.
- Hold off on catching the zzz's — your last meal should be no later than three to four hours before going to bed.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., CDN, runs a nutrition consulting practice and currently writes for US News & World Report. She has served as a representative to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). She is also the author of Read It Before You Eat It and has been featured on Good Morning America, The TODAY Show, and Anderson Cooper 360. Taub-Dix recommends keeping a food diary with amounts. Why amounts? Well, because having amounts keeps you accountable; without amounts, it's far too easy to get off track.
And Frances Largeman-Roth is a registered dietitian, and contributor and representative for Cooking Light. She is the co-author of the CarbLovers Diet book series as well as other popular health and wellness books. Largeman-Roth has worked at Health magazine, Discovery Health Channel, and Foodfit.com. She had a number of great recommendations for post-workout snacks that will help you keep things in balance and feeling top-notch after a workout. To see what these experts had to say, read on in the slideshow.
To view healthy and homemade post-workout snacks, check out the slideshow above!
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