You know that feeling after Spinning class.
At first, you’re not hungry and you go on with your day. Then, about an hour or so after class, it starts…that gnawing hunger that nags at you incessantly: “Feed me, feed me!” And if you’re not careful, you feed that sudden intense hunger with what’s instantly available, even though it may not be what your body really needs. Like cookies. Or chips. Or...
Re-fueling your body after a workout is important, and especially after a challenging workout like Spinning classes. You’ll need to refuel fairly quickly, even if you don’t feel like eating. If you wait too long, you’ll likely eat too much, and will ‘restock’ the calories you just burned.
The best fuel is one that’s quickly absorbed, so anything (healthy) in liquid form is a great option. Liquids can also help rehydrate you after a sweat session. A healthy small smoothie with protein powder, juiced greens with a splash of protein, or even my favorite post-Spinning snack—chocolate milk—is excellent. I’ve even had a small latte with nonfat milk in a pinch (plus it gives you a nice caffeine lift, 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. And though you don’t want to take in more calories than you burned off, post-workout is also the best time to eat your carby-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 approaching “gnaws” 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 clas, 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.
And snack healthily away.