post workout snackAfter a good workout, the first thing most people think about is what they're going to have as a snack. The post workout snack is kind of like the holy grail of fitness.

It is the most delicious meal of the day and usually ends up being the most nutritious for what your body needs.

So, what are some post workout snack do's and don'ts that you should keep in mind when you are ready to refuel after a long workout?

Post Workout Snack Dos

Here are a few of the things you should be doing every time you reach for that coveted post-workout snack.

Eat For Your Workout

When you are eating a post workout snack, you really want to consider the type of exercise that you just did. If you did a ton of cardio exercise your post workout snack is going to look a lot different than if you just did a 5 x 5 strong man set.

How so?

Cardio Specific Snacks

Well, cardio taxes your aerobic system and uses a lot of your bodies glycogen stores. At the end of an hour or more of cardio, your bodies natural sugar stores are completely depleted.

If you want to fuel your body and increase your future glycogen pool properly, then you need to eat sugar rich foods. These high carbs foods allow the the liver to increase its glycogen stores.

No, that doesn't mean that you get to eat a bag of Oreos.

But something like low-fat chocolate milk is going to have a lot of easily digested sugar, and a lot of protein as well. Other sugar rich foods you may want to consider are fruits, whole food smoothies (without added sugar), dairy products, whole grains, and pasta.

Weight Training Specific Snacks

In contrast, if you spent the past hour or more lifting weights your body probably didn't tax its glycogen stores. But you have done some damage to your muscle tissue.

Your body is going to need amino acids to repair those muscle tissues.

A protein rich post workout snack is going to be better in helping your body repair. Your body will have to repair the micro tears caused by lifting.Post workout protein

The high protein post workout snack may help you see the gains you want to see from lifting faster than a lower protein snack would.

What are some things you should be eating?

If you aren't already eating enoug protein, incorporating whole lean proteins into your post workout snack will give you a great boost to your recovery time. It may not be realistic to sit down to a salmon or cod fillet after the gym.

So many people supplement with BCAAs or other protein supplements. Whole foods are always best, but supplemented protein is better than none.

Post Workout Snack Don'ts

For some reason, people think a workout gives them a license to eat.  Then they wonder why they are not maintaining their progress, hitting their goals, or loosing weight. Just because you had a good workout doesn't give you access to the all you can eat buffet.

Here are some post workout snack pitfalls to avoid:

  • Using your workout to justify high-calorie post workout "snacks". Pizza, beer and a burger, Ben and Jerry's. All of these should not be "rewards" or used as your post exercise snack to "justify working out."
  • Skipping a snack. EAT SOMETHING! Skipping your post workout snack is worse than over indulging. Your body just went through high stress that you put it through. Make sure you refuel it so that you can get through the day!
  • Only one ingredient, sugar. Carbohydrates are great, but make sure that the carbs you are getting are the right kind (from whole grains or dairy). Try to avoid the carbohydrates from Little Debbie!

Top 10 Post Workout Snacks

Still lost on what to eat? Here are my top 10 favorite snacks for after a workout

  1. String Cheese and Apple
  2. Banana and Peanut Butter
  3. Protein Smoothie
  4. Kale Salad with Smoked Salmon
  5. Mixed Nuts
  6. Protein Bar
  7. Turkey Jerky and Oranges
  8. Deer Jerky and Dates
  9. Sliced Bell Pepper and Hummus
  10. Hard Boiled Eggs with Sliced Strawberries

What is your favorite post workout snack?

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