Image by Alan Cleaver
If we were relying purely on the maths, losing fat would really be as simple (or difficult) as burning more calories in our daily activities than we consume. However, our bodies don’t quite work that way and even the most strenuous of your workouts can’t help poor eating habits, so if a juicy kebab is your favourite reward for an exhausting cardio session in gym (even if it evens the calorie count), perhaps it’s about time you swapped them for these healthier options.
If you crave meat
If it’s meat that you crave, it’s meat that you should have, but there’s no need to consume a glass of cooking oil with it. While doner kebabs may contain up to 140 grams of fat – easily a woman’s daily allowance of fat, having a lean, grilled steak for dinner you’d cut the fat intake to only 12g per steak. Meat is packed with protein that helps rebuild your muscle cells that inevitably get damaged during the workout session.
If you crave carbs
It’s good news for those of you hitting the gym just before dinner as after that you will be able to eat your carbohydrates without fearing that your body will store them as fat. However, it is recommended to stick to whole wheat pasta or brown rice instead of their more processed alternatives, and pay attention to what you’re eating them with. Some specialists have spoken out on the harmful effects of mixing a fat with carbohydrates as the latter cause body to release insulin, one of your body’s most powerful fat storage hormones. As a result, your body will use carbohydrates as the energy source while your fat will be simply stored away… as fat.
If you crave a snack
Many gyms offer protein bars and flapjacks from their vending machines, but don’t naturally assume it’s the healthiest way of snacking if you’re working out. While the excess sugar they contain may give you an extra energy boost before the workout, they’ll do little afterwards. Again, aim for snacks that are high in protein such as nuts (almonds in particular), beef jerky or tuna. If there’s still a long day ahead of you, keep yourself going by finishing off that banana you’ve saved from breakfast.
If you crave a dessert
Fitness instructors tirelessly advocate cutting down on sugar in our food (and drinks) but we all know that you do not lose your sweet tooth overnight. Most online post-workout dessert recipes revolve around mixing bananas, cottage cheese, milk and whey protein, making them into a shake, a pudding or even or a pancake mix (add some eggs). They may not look the prettiest, but it’s the taste that matters, right?
If you crave a drink
Alcohol is known for being quite calorific and sugary. While recent reports suggest that it doesn’t have a direct connection to weight gain and in some cases it may even increase metabolism, you’d be better off swapping those pints for spirits with a low calorie mixer. As another golden rule goes, the less sugar in the drink, the less hangover you’ll have the following morning.
Many fat loss guides recommend not having food as compensation for your hard work at gym, but if you’re anything like me and post-workout treats are what school reward stickers were for you back in the days, you know how important they are for motivation. Maybe it would be helpful if just like those reward stickers for teachers, they started making ones for personal trainers too… Wait, no, I’d still rather have my post-workout pudding!
How do you reward yourselves after a workout?
- License: Creative Commons image source
This is a guest post. Louise Blake is a new mum who’s determined to get her pre-baby body back as soon as possible, while as a healthy lifestyle advocate she’d never go to extremes. She shares her tips, writing for schoolstickers.