Well, congratulations! You have once again slaughtered your Fitness Fairies (yes, capitalizing because they are now proper nouns in my world) and even taken out their Homeland with a mass airstrike. Epic fail! Furthermore, you have now surpassed the Fairy Homeland destruction and are now self-destructing your OWN Homeland, your body!
Obviously, I am going to explain all of this so you can make better strides for your fitness goals! When you put your body through in an intense workout…
Wait define intense, Kelsey please….
This can be very subjective, however there are a few things you should be looking for when hitting your workout to call it intense.
- Did you heart rate climb above 75-80%?
- Did you experience muscle fatigue during lifting session or cardio session?
- Did you rock out an awesome sweat? (Some of you don’t sweat, that’s crazy to me!)
- Did you give your workout all you had?
Ok, now that we have an understanding of how intense your workouts are, we can talk about what happens AFTER an intense workout.
You have completely depleted the glycogen stores in your muscles and your liver. Please see previous blog post Should I Workout on an Empty Stomach? You have also done some serious damage to your muscles and they are now suseptical to catabolism!
- Side note: The serious damage I am referring to is a GOOD THING because it forces your body to repair the damage by building back stronger and better. Well, only as long as you read this article and take your post-workout meal seriously.
After your workout, all of your beautiful little Fitness Fairies are exhausted and passed out (as you should feel after a workout). Without the magic potions they need (post-workout meal), they are now turning into Zombie Gremlins in your body. They are ready to eat anything and everything! Lucky for us (sense the sarcastic tone) their favorite meal is the most nutrient dense meal in your body, your muscle! BAD BAD BAD! Now….What about that magic potion? A potion that could transform those little bastards back into your badass magical Fitness Fairies? Well, lucky for you, there is! Before the Gremlins can do too much damage to your body, you guzzle down a protein shake and bite through a big ol’ shiny apple (not poisonous like most fairytales). The simple carbohydrates from the juicy apple shoot straight into those Gremlins and your fabulous buff Fairies are revived with the energy to take on the world! The lean protein from your shake, arms your Fairies with the protection they need to ward off additional offenses against your muscles!
So, the moral of the story is…. YES! You need to eat immediately following your workout, within 30 minutes. After that, those fairies start to sprout warts and green hair as they slowly transform into ugly little beasts. Just like a pre-workout meal, your post-workout meal should contain lean protein (little to no fat) and a simple carbohydrate (little to no fiber).
- Protein Shake and Apple/Banana
- Egg Whites and slice of toast with jam (no butter)
- White fish or shrimp and potatoes
- Low-fat Greek Yogurt and berries
- Prime rib and metamucil! HA! Sorry that’s weird.
Final thoughts? Get your body what it needs to protect your muscle from entering a catabolic state and begin the growth and recovery process, aka protein synthesis, aka lean and sexy. Which let’s be real, is exactly WHY we workout! Not only are you protecting your muscle with your protein source but you are also adding the amazing benefits of additional fat burning by giving your body the carbs it needs to replace the glycogen stores, to continue your body through a long fat burning state and give you energy!
- Another sidenote: Your body doesn’t reach full potential in fat burning until about two hours AFTER your workout! If it doesn’t have what it needs in order to get there (post-workout meal), then it may never get there!
In case I haven’t pounded this topic into your head enough….I am going to make it even more plain! Without proper nutrition and timing of that nutrition with your Post-workout meal, you are WASTING A PERFECTLY GOOD WORKOUT! Yes, it’s true! By not eating right after your workout, you are willing transforming your incredibly fab fairies into creepy awful little gremlins, never to make progress towards the body you really want. Got it? GOOD!
PS. See the Share button under here? Please share if this fairytale helped you. Let’s spread the love and help other as well 🙂 I mean, we are all basically Super Heroes!