Post-Gym – To eat or not to eat…
I’m pretty consistent with my workout schedule, and I typically finish exercising in the early afternoon. That would be a perfect time to refuel with a light late lunch, right? And the Club’s convenient cafe offers salads, wraps, smoothies, hard-boiled eggs, as well as kid-friendly hotdogs/grilled cheese/pretzels (so they’ll grow up to be big and strong? Well, maybe just big) — but I’ve never felt the urge to buy anything there.
There’s also a brand-new upscale bistro at the Club, with fantastic atmosphere, as in “I can’t believe I live here,” and I’ve eaten there twice after working out. First visit, 2 of us split an order of sliders and a 22 oz. bottle of Arrogant Bastard, and spent 2 hours refining skills at the shuffleboard table. What better way to spend a Friday afternoon? The following week, with my mind obsessed with those sliders, I suggested to another member that we ‘do lunch’, and again indulged in sliders and shuffleboard — hey, this time I won! Left a 50% tip — a personal best for me — because it was all so perfectly awesome!
However, this post isn’t supposed to be about aberrational splurges, but rather it’s about my normal healthy post-workout food intake. Which is: 1/4 cup (approx.) raw almonds, raisins and dried cranberries, consumed in the locker room from the supply that I carry around in my gymbag.
I also drink lots of water, and maybe a glass of tomato juice, in the afternoon. This helps stave off hunger pangs. But I try to avoid food in the afternoon as long as possible. Then, I throw together dinner, generally before 6 PM.
Bottom line: I’m more or less a 2-meals-a-day person, and my routine does not include lunch / post-workout meal per se.
I did some quick research so I could say why my nuts/berries snack is the ideal combination of protein/carbs, and to promote my quasi-2 meals/day routine. And yikes, I pretty much struck out. Strike 1: Nuts probably don’t offer enough protein and too much fat (fats apparently are a no-no immediately after workout — why? — not sure, just something I just read). Strike 2: Fruit probably doesn’t provide the right type of post-workout carbs. Strike 3: If you’re going for the benefits of 2 meals/day, no snacks are allowed, on the theory that the longer you go between meals, you give your body more time to use the stored energy in your body’s fat cells (and, possibly, an increase in growth hormone and also a vital neuro-protective chemical — science is still in flux about that stuff, so let’s just leave it at that).
Regardless of the ‘facts’, skipping lunch has worked for me for the last 5 years because: (i) I eat a late (mid-morning) breakfast and early dinner; (ii) my afternoons aren’t very taxing; (iii) (most importantly) it keeps my weight low and very stable, and that’s my main goal in life. I’m not recommending that you follow this method. It’s certainly not advised for hypoglycemics! And many would say I’m jeopardizing my metabolism (but science is also in flux about that, too, by the way).
In this regard, as in everything, everyone has to figure out their own path.