You've just completed a nice run on your bicycle and you're feeling great- physically and mentally. You want to keep your body feeling nice and refreshed post your work out. But, you are unsure of what is good for you and what isn't. We have compiled a list of foods that is best avoided after a ride. Food on this list should be a strict no-no if you want to benefit from your ride.
“Raw vegetables? What? They are healthy!”
While raw vegetables are considered a healthy low-calorie snack, they aren't substantial enough to fuel your body with the required nutrients to help in recovery post your ride and won't keep you full for long. Thereby not allowing your body to maintain a healthy metabolic rate. If you must consume raw vegetables, pair them with something more substantial like a high protein yoghurt dip or hummus. However, do not consume any high fat dips or dressings.
Sometimes, especially after a ride, the thought of fast food might be tempting. It is yummy and you don't have to wait long or spend time cooking.
Fast food is one of the worst possible foods to consume after a ride. Be it burgers, pizzas, hot dogs … anything! The reason being that fast food is high in saturated fats and can contain trans-fats, which will cause dehydration and slow down your digestion.
The goal after any exercise is to replenish your body's glycogen and to reduce, not add to, the amount of fat your body stores.
SALTY SNACKS AND CRISPS
You're hungry after a ride and that bag of potato chips near your stove is calling out to you as you wait for your food to get cooked. Close your eyes, put it away.
Salty and fried food like potato chips and popcorn lowers the levels of potassium in your body and can get you dehydrated quicker. This will prompt you to consume more water than you need and can cause bloating. Also, potassium helps in the recovery process and is an important electrolyte that's lost while cycling, the last thing you need is to further deplete your body of potassium.
SODA AND SUGARY DRINKS
While reaching out for that iced bottle of a cold drink can be extremely tempting after a ride, avoid doing so regardless of how thirsty you are, or how tempting the bottle may be. Whether its soda, or fructose filled fruit juices, downing sugary drinks after intense exercise is counterproductive for anyone seeking to get fit, due to the slowing effect on the metabolism. Reach for sports drinks only if your workout required you to sweat profusely to replace the electrolytes you lost. But to quench your thirst, rehydrate and replenish electrolytes, go with plain water and eat a potassium-rich banana.
MILK CHOCOLATE, PASTRIES – SUGAR
It is true, carbs are essential to replace the glycogen lost after a vigorous ride. But not carbs you get from pastries, cakes, donuts or any such product. They are plain old empty carbs- deprived of nutrition and extremely high in fat. High in sugar and calories, milk chocolate offers virtually nothing of what you need in order to recharge after training. The negative effects to your fitness results are far more damaging than the brief burst of energy you may get from scarfing down a bar or chocolate.
Eating nothing, especially within an hour of completing a ride is just as bad as eating all of the above. Your body would have depleted its energy stores and it needs refueling in order to recover well and strong. Ignoring this will cause your muscles to become completely strained and fatigued. This can lead to you overusing your muscles which increases the risk of injuries. Remember to eat something, even if it is something simple like a handful of nuts after you finish your ride.
In order to stay healthy and keep fit, what you eat after a ride is as important, if not more, than the ride or work out itself. It is always tempting to reach out for food that is not necessarily good for one's body. However, doing so is counterproductive to your own health and well-being. If you are tempted by any of these avoidable food groups, think of a way to cook up something as delicious but healthier – in your own home! Health and happiness, what more could you want?