Blood, Sweat, & Post-Workout Snacks?
Physical activity is really important for our health and weight maintenance. A lot of people trying to lose weight as eating certain foods because they believe they “increase their metabolism”. But, in reality, the only good ways to increase your metabolism are 1) eating more frequently (small, frequent meals) and 2) increasing your muscle mass! Oh and maybe including HIIT workouts, check it out here.
I never realized how important physical activity was for my weight maintenance until about a year ago. Sure, I played sports growing up and knew being active was important. But it wasn’t until about a year ago, when I actually began “working out”, that I started to notice a difference in my body composition. I always just focused on my food and what I was putting into my body, but not what else I could be doing to help!
Don’t get me wrong, “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet”…especially if genetics aren’t particularly working in your favor. Some people are blessed with a metabolism others would DREAM of. Others, like me and probably you, have to work pretty hard to see results we want. It’s about 60-70% what you eat (at least in my opinion). But, the extra 30-40% change you’re desiring is going to come from physical activity.
I’m not a personal trainer by any means, I just enjoy working out! I have found what works for me based on a few other practices I’ve seen personal trainers suggest or do themselves. I try to weight train 2 days per week, and run/cycle another 2 days per week. If I get in an extra weekend run, cool. But I try to focus on just these 4 days with my schedule. And no, I don’t like to run. It’s not very fun at all. But since August I have been slowly pushing myself to run a little more. I got up to about 3 miles at a time (don’t laugh, this is a LOT for me…) but there are some days where running just 1 mile is really dang hard. Find what works for you! But just get active.
Okay, so what’s the deal with pre and post-workout snacks?? Do you need to be fueling before and after workouts?? First, decide what your goal is. Are you training to increase muscle mass or are you trying to drop a few pounds? Post-workout snacks are for building maximum muscle based on the carb:protein in the snack. This is good! Because you want to increase muscle mass for metabolism, right? Yes. BUT, you need to be working pretty hard to “earn” your post-workout snack. Otherwise, you are just putting in extra calories that you do not need. So if you are just trying to shed a few extra pounds, you may not want the extra calories from the post workout snack! BUT be careful to replenish your muscles based on your form of exercise with your next meal (more on that below).
Carbs – carbs are important to replenish your muscles with when working out. Think of your muscles as a tank. When you workout, you’re draining the tank a little bit. Harder workout? Draining the tank a lot more! So, you need to fill that tank back up! If your workout was good, but not really intense, your next meal will probably suffice to replenish your tank. But if your workout was intense, you may need a proper workout snack after to replenish your stores enough. Carbohydrates are more important when running and biking for your training.
Protein – protein helps give your body the amino acids you need to actually build the muscles you’re working so hard for! So it’s pretty obvious that you also need some protein in your post-workout snack. Hint: it’s also a great idea to have protein at every meal no matter what. Protein is very important if you are doing resistance training (weight training), you will most likely need a post-workout snack to give your body proper protein amounts to build back the protein you broke down. You should shoot for about 20 grams of protein after resistance training, more on that here.
“Okay so what do I eat for my post-workout snack then?” – a few studies have shown that an optimal carb:protein ratio is 2:1. There are a LOT of different snacks you can make to achieve this ratio. I am going to start creating “energy bite” recipes for you all that incorporate this proper ratio! And I have created my first one and posted it under Desserts & Sweets --> PB Chocolate Chip Bites.
Also checkout my video of the recipe being created with my new (YAY) KitchenAid food processor on my instagram @generalwellness!