Tips For The Perfect Post Workout Snack

March 22nd, 2018
nutrition salad in a jar the fit institute

 5 Trainer Picks From 7-Eleven

Whoever thought getting yourself to eat would be a difficult task? We all know that most Americans LOVE to eat, and eat a lot. But how often do you skip one of the most important meals of the day? An no, I’m not talking about breakfast. A majority of people opt out of their post workout meal. A slew of reasons can emerge as to why; not enough time to get back to work, forgot to meal prep, and most common: straight up not hungry. So how detrimental is it to nix a meal or a snack after a workout? What if you could grab a snack at convenience store to hold you over before your next meal? Meals take time and energy, snacks are more convenient, and may be easier to eat if you suffer from post workout nausea.

Here’s the deal, skipping a post workout snack can leave you feeling sluggish and prevent crucial muscle recovery (especially after weight training). Think of your body as a car, your stomach is the gas tank and the food we eat is the gas. If you consume a meal 2-3 hours before your workout consisting of 500 calories and then burn 500 calories during your workout, your tank is on empty. But aren’t we supposed to burn more calories than we consume? If your goal is to lose weight, the answer is yes. However, consuming calories after a butt busting workout can actually help increase weight loss and increase your metabolism.

What Should We Eat?

During a workout, your body depletes glucose (blood sugar) and glycogen (main source of energy) stores. With low amounts of blood sugar you may feel weak, nauseous, dizzy, and agitated (hangry). Low amounts of blood sugar can also cause us to make poor decisions when choosing our next meal. Consuming carbohydrates is a great way to replace glucose and glycogen stores, giving you more energy and warding off hunger. Fast digesting carbohydrates (e.g. fruits & veggies) is a great post workout snack when paired with a slow digesting protein (e.g. animal products).

Remember when I mentioned muscle recovery? During strength and resistance training, your muscle fibers actually develop small tears. (Whoa, that can’t be good, right?!) But, according to Sharon Richter, R.D. from  Women’s Health Magazine, refueling your body after with a slow digesting protein will actually help repair tears, making your muscle bigger and stronger. As an extra bonus, protein helps you feel fuller for longer.

When Should We Eat?

It isn’t necessary to run to the locker room immediately after your sweat session and start scarfing down food. What your caloric intake was earlier in the day, and how you feel, should determine your timing. If you didn’t consume anything within the 3 hours before your workout, the sooner you snack, the better. If you feel dizzy, light headed, nauseous, weak, extremely fatigued, or as if you were going to pass out, that’s a good indicator your blood sugar is low and immediate munching is necessary. Otherwise, try to aim within an hour post exercise to consume a snack.

7-Eleven To the Post Workout Snack Rescue!

For those of you who are on the go, hate meal prepping, toting along a bulky lunch box, or who forget to eat after workouts; here’s a list of trainer approved snacks you can find at 7-Eleven.  There are over one hundred 7-Eleven locations in Chicago, which gives you little excuse to skip your next post workout snack.

RXBAR $3.29

This bar is true to it’s label; No B.S.. With only having eight ingredients total, it serves up 12g of protein (main source egg whites) and 24g of carbohydrates (main source dates). All of the ingredients come from a natural source and the entire bar is 210 calories. As a bonus, the cocoa works as a chocolate fix for all the sweet tooths out there!

Fairlife Chocolate 2% Reduced Fat Ultra-Filtered Milk $2.29

This take on chocolate milk has 50% less sugar than other chocolate milks and is lactose free! It has a whopping 19g protein (main source milk) and 19g of carbohydrates (main source sugar). Fairlife prides itself on providing extraordinary animal care and being able to trace their milk back to the family farms that produce it. One container holds only 200 calories!

Chobani Non-Fat Greek Yogurt (Blueberry on the Bottom) $1.99

This snack option holds the least amount of calories on the list, tallying only 120 in one container. It is also the only option that does not provide calories from fat, coincidence? I chose the blueberry (out of preference), but they offered other fruit flavors. It holds 12g of protein (main source milk), and 18g of carbs (main source blueberries). This yogurt only uses natural ingredients and is gluten and GMO free!

Jack Link’s Peppered Beef Jerky + 7-Eleven Harvest Blend Fruit Pack $5.99

This duo goes great together! The package of beef jerky will “Feed Your Wild Side™ ”, giving 14g of protein per 35g package (main source beef). The 7-Eleven Harvest Blend Fruit Pack offers strawberries, apples, and grapes, giving a natural source of sugar, fiber, and nutrients. This duo serves approximately 19.7g of carbohydrates (main source being fruit), and a total of approximately 152.5 calories.

7-Eleven Apple Walnut Salad With Chicken $4.49

Including the Sweet Onion Dijon Dressing, the entire package is highest in calories on the list with 250 calories (main culprit being the dressing). Even though salads don’t seem like a “snack” the serving size and total calories do not constitute being an entire meal. It provides 7g of protein (main source chicken) and 14g of carbohydrates (main source spring mix). If you nix the dressing, you save 120 calories (bye-bye dressing!).

Rachel Farr – AT, ATC, CSCS, NSCA – CPT,  MS in Exercise Science; BS in Athletic Training (Northern Michigan University)

The FIT Institute is a physical therapy and sports performance facility in North Center. We increase the
longevity of an athlete’s career by teaching proper movement patterns that often lead to overuse injuries, we do
this by bridging the gap between physical therapy and sports performance.