Some off topic: I know I haven’t posted all week, but it i not because I have forgotten you. I am studying witt Katy Bowman, to become a Restorative Health Specialist; I have Health Seminars in Bulgaria, I am preparing an IFS Bootcamp in Bulgaria and I have a ton of work with my gym in Bulgaria, so I had a pretty busy week. But there we go! The weekly post.
One of the questions people ask me on a daily basis is: “Ines, what should I eat post – workout? Am I supposed to eat immediately after that?”
My answer, usually confuses people. They are constantly reading how they should eat immediately post workout, in order to have progress; so they don’t lose muscle mass and so they don’t gain weight. On the other side, I tell them, that they do not need to eat immediately post workout. I tell them to eat when they feel the need to eat. Some people might feel hungry 30 minutes post workout, others might feel hunger 60 minutes post workout.
Personally, I never eat immediately after a workout. In most cases I train and then I have at least two group workouts with clients. This means that I won’t eat for 3 hours post workout. There are cases when I might eat 30 minutes post workout. I always listen to my body.
When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, the best indication about what we should do is listening to the signals our body is sending.
If you’ve been following my advices to eat 3-4 times a day, this means that you eat enough food, for every meal, so you can go longer periods of time without eating. You can go for 5-7 hours without food, because you are not spinning in the enchanted circle of insulin highs and lows, followed by the urge to eat.
Thus, if you have eaten 60-90 minutes pre-workout, then the chance to feel hunger, immediately after your training session is minimal.
Actually, every time when I have a heavy workout, my body never sends me signals that it is hungry, immediately post training. Even the thought of food, when I finish my workout, doesn’t seem good.
All of this has its logical, biological reasons. The problem is that as always we are slaves to the myths, without knowing what stands behind everything, we are encouraged to do.
What does a workout mean to our body?
Let’s first see what a workout means, when it comes to the information that our body receives from it.
Workouts are a type of stress. Working out, we take our body out of homeostasis and we activate mechanisms, which are trying to take it back in the so called allostasis ( which means consistency through change, or in other words, when we run upstairs, we kick our body out of homeostasis/ balance and the body responds by increasing our heart rate, we start breathing faster and so forth.)
Workouts, as a stressor provoke a reaction from our body. The first thing that happens is that our heart starts beating faster. This happens when the sympathetic nervous system activates ( the so called fight or flight response). Besides that, the force at which the heart beats, is increasing, which includes the veins, which return blood towards the heart – the sympathetic nervous system makes them constrict and become more rigid. As a result, the blood that returns through them, should make its way by moving with a bigger force.
When we start training, our pulse and our blood pressure increase. Then, the blood is being distributed in the body, so it can deliver oxygen to the systems, organs, muscle that need it the most. For that purpose, the arteries which lead to the muscles dilate, thus increasing the blood flow and the delivery of energy towards them.
Meanwhile, every time when such compensatory mechanisms are being activated, which alarm for some kind of stress and disruption in homeostasis, the whole body redirects toward the functions required for survival and neglects the secondary functions. In this case, it decreases the blood flow towards the “secondary” parts of the body, like the digestive tract. This means, that during stress ( during workout), digestion stops. As a result, the secretion of saliva stops; our pancreas stops producing enzymes and digestive acids and nutrients can’t be absorbed.
What does that mean? The body redirects its efforts towards delivering oxygen and energy to the muscles and it doesn’t give a damn about digestion.
What are we doing? We’ve just finished our last set and we are already eating a banana, drinking a protein shake or eating an energy bar, because that what we are “supposed to do”.
The problem is that at this moment, our body is still under the stress of the workout and it is not ready to digest food- i.e. it doesn’t have enough enzymes, the secretion of saliva is decreased ( you know that digestion starts from the mouth, with our saliva and the way it breaks down food; there isn’t enough digestive acid; food cannot be absorbed properly.
Some time ago, somebody told me a joke:
-I am on a diet!
-What type of diet?
-I don’t eat and just before I pass out, I eat a piece of cheese.
If you are not that type of person, who barely eats and needs food every hour or two, then you shouldn’t be hungry, immediately post workout.
Instead, listen to your body. Give it at least 30-40 minutes, so it can get back in homeostasis and so it can redirect its attention to other functions, besides survival.
What is the only case, when you will need food right after a workout?
1)If just before you pass out, you eat some cheese.
2)If you are a pro athlete that trains twice a day.
Most of the trainees, even when they look fit, they are a total damage on the inside.
Most of them have digestive problems, gas, bloating, stomach pain. Symptoms, which scream that something is way off. Still, most are fooling themselves, that they lead a healthy lifestyle and they are slaves to – eating up to a schedule, eating immediately after a workout, eating the same food, in the same proportions, every single day.
Actually, healthy is just what is in synchrony with our body. Healthy is just what gives us the opportunity to listen to the signals sent from our body and act according to them.
Let me ask you, do you really feel hunger or the need for energy, right after you finish your workout? I doubt it!
Stop overburdening yourself with what you “should do”. Stop deafening the voice of your own body.
Eat post workout – but not immediately, but when you feel hunger.
What should you eat post workout?
Your post workout or pre workout meal is not any different from the rest of your meal. Post workout nutrition is just fuel. It should contain quality, real food, which gives your body the building blocks, that will help it recover after the training session.
A good post workout meal doesn’t come out of a glittery package, it doesn’t come out of a powder that is being dissolved in water. It comes out of real food. Such, that nature gave u. It contains the micro and macro nutrients, that nature packed in real foods, keeping in mind that we need them in exactly these proportions.
I finished my workout about two hours ago and that is what I am gonna eat now: