The night owl's post workout snack
Are you a night owl?
I'm not but I'm also not against an evening sweat session. I'm the sort of woman, if it has to be done at 9pm at night, then that's when it's going to get done. As long as it's done, I'm a happy woman.
Working out in the morning or in the evening, they both have their challenges. And if you're anything like me I like to plan out my day, when I will shower and what I will eat. Late night workouts tend to be a bit tricky on what to eat.
- You don't want to eat too much, or that will leave to digestion issues when you go to bed and keep you up all night.
- You don't want to eat too many grams of fat because then they won't be used up, potentially will be stored and they slow down digestion of other foods
- You don't want to NOT eat, because you're hungry and you've just worked out!
This is why I thought I would debunk some "night owl" myths AND give you 5 options on what to eat post workout!!!
There are numerous articles out there stating that working out in the morning is better than in the evening because you're body is properly fueled with a breakfast, less stress is on your mind to affect or interfere with your workout, or better performance because of the foods you may have eaten throughout the day. The thing is, if you ate like shit yesterday it will affect your morning workout. If you had a stressful night or woke up lots with the kids, you're going to be just as stressed in the morning when you sweat. And you know what, lots of women tell me they skip breakfast so the whole "properly fueled from breakfast" can be thrown out the window.
It doesn't matter if it's morning, afternoon or evening workout, you have to be properly fueled no matter when it happens! It doesn't matter when you do your workout, stress will find you and it's how you react to the stress when it approaches you. If you linger and drag out the stress, it could last for days, weeks and months... react in the best way possible and nip it in the bud!
The challenge I do hear and see a lot is WHAT TO EAT post workout? With an evening workout you do want to be more intentional and more aware of what you are eating because potentially in the next couple hours you may be laying down to bed (laying down after eating brings up a whole new topic of digestion) .
What to look for in a post work out snack is protein, carbohydrates and a little bit of healthy fats. Be careful with your fats because they can slow down the digestion process of your carbs and proteins.
Here are 5 snacks to enjoy post workout that will help your body and mind recover post workout
1. Raw veggies and humus. Chickpea or lentil or black bean based humus will give you a great source of protein and veggies will provide you your carbohydrates.
2. 1 slice of whole grain bread, peanut butter or nut butter of your choice (tablespoon). Again getting the healthy fats and protein together with the nut butter. Whole grains for your carbohydrates and the whole grain bread will also provide you with other nutrients that you may be low in. I even like to add a banana on top for extra potassium to help support muscle stress.
3. Boiled Eggs and a slice of toast. As simple as that is, eggs are WONDERFUL post workout snacks, morning, afternoon or night! 2 is ideal for a woman working out about 30-40 mins.
4. Nuts and seeds. Here you have to be intentional with your portion sizes because I know, as soon as that bag opens it's fair game! Try portioning them out into snack bags and keeping them handy in your fridge (nuts and seeds can go rancid) Think golf ball size for portion size of your nuts and seeds or half cup if you measure.
5. Protein shakes. Yes a protein shake can provide you all and is actually one of the best choices for you because it's absorption time is quicker than food. With a quicker absorption time your belly will thank you for it and will leave you feeling full and muscles recovering in potentially 30-60 mins compared to whole food which is 2-3hrs. Try to have a protein shake with close to 20 grams of protein or more. Always look for high quality whey protein. I like to pack my protein shakes with as much spinach as possible especially because I'm anemic (low in iron) and find that protein shakes a great way to get the majority of my iron in. My favourite shake recipe is protein powder, water, blueberries (high in antioxidants and help repair muscle stress) and spinach!
other quick options are
- Tuna on whole wheat bread or pita
- Greek yogurt and berries (this one will be slower digesting and higher in sugars- heads up)
- Cheese and apple slices
- Small portion of oatmeal, apple slice or chunks and cinnamon
- Turkey/Chicken on whole grain bread or pita
- Nut butters on rice cakes with banana
- Chocolate milk (yes this is one of the best for endurance athletes)
- Sweet potatoes (watch your portion size here) and a slice of turkey/chicken
- Home made trail mix with cocoa chips, dried fruit and nuts
My main goal and desire for you is to get your workout in and if it means at 6am or 9pm, I'll be there at cheering you on until the end!