Finally, the last of the five 3-minute punch mitt rounds just ended. What seemed like an eternity from the start is now an achievement. And you feel that you could down a gallon of water in one sitting. Hydration is the next best thing after a workout. But most are clueless as to what their post-training meal should be. Some even think that zero food intake after a workout would expedite weight loss. Unless you’re a fighter trying to make weight, this has some negative effects on your overall nutrition. Starving yourself after a workout impedes your recovery and sets your body into a survival mode, thus, allowing it to burn less calorie.
Here are some basic guidelines that will help you plan your post-workout meal.
Have a balanced diet. A balanced diet is one that gives your body the nutrition it needs to function properly. In order to get truly balanced nutrition, you should obtain the majority of your daily calories from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Avoid consumption of “empty calories”. The source of your daily calories is just as important as the number of calories you consume. You should limit your consumption of “empty calories,” or those that provide little or no nutritional value. Empty calories are calories that come from sugars and solid fats, such as butter and shortening.
For a faster recovery, protein-rich foods are highly recommended. Protein sources are dairy products, meat and some grains, seeds, and nuts A dose of omega-3 from fish and avocado will also minimize inflammation and swelling of muscles.
For those whose goal is to lose weight, the basic guiding principle is that “calorie intake should be less than calorie expended”. Regardless of the school of thought (i.e. Paleo diet, South Beach, Atkins, etc.), the serving portion is as much as important as the calorie count and food choice.
If you’re a committed amateur or a professional fighter preparing for your weigh-in, then the game plan changes. There are specific nutrition guidelines that you should adhere to in cutting weight and at the same time maintaining your overall strength and conditioning.
Bottom line, food is not the enemy. It’s the wrong choices we make based on myths and wrong assumptions.
Eat well. Live well.
CONTRIBUTOR: JOSE LORENZO