One of the most harmful fat-burning myths for men is that it doesn’t matter what you eat after workouts, or that calorie restriction is all that will help you lose weight. Like it or not, every weight management program involves a combination of diet and exercise. There are no magic fat-burning foods, but there are better times to eat the right food for a great fat-burning effect. What you eat right after workouts is actually the most important thing you’ll ever eat. Your body has a deficit of calories and nutrients, so anything you eat will be readily absorbed into the body. The right foods will help preserve and build muscle, while the wrong ones can defeat the entire purpose of working out.
Whole grain cereal
Add a little skim milk for a food that’s jam-packed with good carbs and protein. Whole grain cereal has what it takes to replenish muscles and give you more energy. The result? You get less post-workout drag and less residual soreness. This means that workouts will have a greater impact on your overall fitness, and a smaller impact on your normal everyday life.
Pack a smoothie with berries, melons and bananas, and then fill it in with some good soy or whey protein for a true power food. It has carbs and proteins, but also a wide range of nutrients and electrolytes that your body needs. This is an excellent food either before or after workouts. Add in some carrots, spinach, beets, or other complementary vegetables for an even more complete smoothie.
Wrap tuna in whole grain pita bread for a light meal that’s high in protein and good fatty acids, but low in excess fats. Consider adding some chopped vegetables and either spicy mustard or a low-fat creamy dressing. Whole grains have the fat-busting combination of carbs and fiber, as well as a few extra nutrients that will help your workout recovery.
You can’t go wrong with dried fruits and nuts, and sweet additions such as dark chocolate chips or coated chocolate candies give it a little extra glycemic boost. Trail mix is easy to make, or you can buy a wide range of pre-made mixes. It’s also exceptionally easy to take anywhere, so you’re sure to hit the “sweet spot” for food, which is about the first 45 minutes after a workout.
Sweet potatoes or potatoes
While potatoes are primarily starch, and therefore considered a “bad food” when you’re trying to lose weight, they’re an excellent post-workout food. Nothing quite packs the glycemic punch of a potato, so it helps knock out soreness and replenish energy fast. Before workouts, opt for the low-GI and nutrient-packed sweet potatoes.
Bear in mind that the important thing is to get high glycemic index (GI) food items after your workout, and low GI foods before. Focus on proteins and carbohydrates, and try to avoid saturated fats. Monounsaturated fats, such as those found in nuts and avocadoes, can be helpful and may actually boost your testosterone levels. These recommendations are made based on an average, healthy male with no complicating conditions such as diabetes. It’s always best to discuss your diet and exercise plans with your doctor and a dietician.