By Helen M Ryan
You know that feeling after you Spinning® class. You aren’t hungry at first. But then an hour or so after class, it starts…that gnawing feeling of hunger that nags at you incessantly. “Feed me, feed me!” your body seems to scream! And if you’re not careful, you’ll satiate that sudden intense hunger with whatever is instantly available, even though it may not be what your body really needs. Like cookies, chips, candy or soda.
Re-fueling your body after a workout is important, especially after a challenging workout like a Spinning class. You need to replenish your body quickly, even if you don’t feel like eating. If you wait too long, you will likely end up just “restocking” the calories you just burned with whatever food is available to you, which is not necessary the best food for you.
The best fuel is one that is quickly absorbed, so anything healthy in a liquid form is a great option. Liquids can also help rehydrate you after a sweaty session. A healthy small smoothie with protein powder, juiced greens or even a little flavor like chocolate milk (my favorite post-Spinning snack) is excellent. I’ve even had a small latte with nonfat milk in a pinch (plus it gives you a nice life from the caffeine too.)
Other good options are:
- A handful of nuts
- Apple slices with nut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon
- Plain yogurt with fruit or berries
- Lunch meat and cheese roll-ups
- Egg white vegetable omelet with a slice of whole grain bread thin or corn tortilla
- A protein bar if you are on the run (check the fat and calories numbers first)
- Small protein pancake
- Plain oatmeal with milk and berries
A good plan is to eat a balance of carbohydrates and protein after your workouts. Even though you don’t want to take in more calories than you burned off, post-workout is also the best time to eat your carb-loaded foods (so if you’re going out for nachos, you might want to hop on a Spinner bike first and deplete those glycogen stores.)
Eat (or drink) your snack as close to your workout as possible, preferably within 30 minutes of finishing exercising, even if you are not very hungry. This will keep the gnawing feeling of extreme hunger at bay.
Also, be realistic as how many calories you burn in your exercise session versus how many you are taking in. A good usual measure for after workout meal or snack is to take in less than half of what you expended. However, if you think you burn 800 calories in a class, and you really burned 400 calories, then that 400 calorie snack you just ate is going to set you back if weight loss is your goal.
Many people who complain about not losing weight while exercising might actually eat more calories than they think, and burn less than they believe. Underestimate the number of calories you burn to give yourself a better chance at reaching those weight loss goals.
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