Some people and athletes that do some intermittent fasting (IF) regularly, should think whether it is OK not to eat after a workout. I would not recommend intermittent fasting after training or running, it will affect or ruin our goals of building muscle and losing weight if we skipped our post-workout snack or meal. Even to provide some energy carbs before and during long training sessions is very important to support our whole body and energy. If we train or run early in the morning, as early as 5:30 am, we need to refuel before lunch. We can wait 30-60mins for a post-training session meal or snack, but waiting later will affect our muscle and bone recovery, and energy level. Sometimes we don’t feel hungry after a workout. In general, listening to our hunger cues eating when we're hungry, not eating when we're not, will lead us in the right direction, but to refuel our body after our training session is super important, even if we don't feel hungry. So how important is it to eat after our training session and runs, and what do we do if we don't feel like eating? What Happens If We Don't Eat After a Workout? We may have heard something about what not eating after a training session can do to our body, but it's worth a quick refresher. During a workout, we're breaking down muscle, actually creating small micro-tears in the tissue. That breakdown process is what makes it possible to build our muscles and help them grow bigger and stronger, but only if we refuel correctly with nutrients like protein, which helps to repair that damage, and also some good carbs. Failing to fuel after a workout or run can push our body into a catabolic state, where it's breaking down muscle mass and slowing down our metabolism, the opposite of what we are planning for. We will also need to eat carbs especially if our workout involved cardio and a good run. Our body uses glycogen, stored glucose, as energy to fuel our training sessions, and it gets that glucose by converting carbohydrates. Rebuilding the supply gives us the energy to recover from our workout and run to keep going through our day. How Long Can We Wait to Eat After a Workout? When determining how soon we need to refuel after a workout, there are a few different factors we have to take into consideration. First, is how recently we ate before the workout. For example, let's say we stop eating at 8 pm, then wake up the next morning to do a 6:30 am fasted workout or run with no food beforehand. The period after that workout or run, particularly if it involved strength work, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or fast long run, is a crucial time for refueling. If it's been several hours since our last meal or snack, replenishing our body will prevent it from breaking down muscle mass, allowing it to start the repair and recovery process instead. This also applies if we have a short recovery window between training sessions. If we're doing "two-a-days," for example, running and strength training sessions early in the morning and later in the day or at night. The pre- and post-workout food align, whatever we ate at lunch or even at breakfast is going to help us through our training session and post-training session. If we haven't eaten beforehand, it's crucial to refuel within an hour of working out. But if we had a meal two hours before our workout or run, we can probably wait an hour or two to eat our next meal. But even to consume a small refueling snack and electrolytes will be supporting our muscle and bone health and strength. But even with no pre-workout food, it's usually fine to wait 30-45 minutes to eat after a workout or run. What we don't want to wait on is hydration. We need to make sure we're drinking a lot of fluids, primarily water or water with electrolytes. The electrolytes are especially important for cardio workouts that lasted an hour or longer, and consuming BCAA’s supplements will also support our muscles strength and even our energy level. Should We Eat Even If We’re Not Hungry? With all of that in mind, it's crucial to eat within at least two hours of a workout, regardless of whether we're hungry or not. And, that includes people doing intermittent fasting. That doesn't mean we have to break our fast early every day, though we may want to if we're not scheduled to eat for more than two hours after exercise. If we want to stick to our fasting schedule, it'll be about structuring our eating and workouts so that we're able to refuel within that two-hour window. But personally, I would not recommend to follow intermittent fasting regularly to support our body health and whole metabolism and strength. If we’re not hungry after a workout, I still recommended eating at least some protein and carbs. It's not necessarily that our body doesn't want the food, we might not be hungry post-exercise simply because our body isn't used to getting food right after our workout or run due to our intestine being a bit shut down. We should just get accustomed to that routine. It doesn't have to be a full meal, even a smaller snack can support our carb stores and keep our body from going into that catabolic state of muscle breakdown. Foods to Eat After a Workout It's best if we can eat a full meal within two hours of exercise, complete with protein, carbs, and vegetables, but that's not always possible, and might not even feel good right after a workout. In that case, a protein shake can be a good option. They're so efficient for great refueling, especially if we know we're not going to be able to sit down for a meal for a few hours, or if we just don't feel like eating a full meal. To eat a piece of fruit, such as a banana, on the side or throw it in the smoothie will provide good healthy carbs and nutrients. Many packaged protein smoothies don't have any carbs, but they're essential for recovery as well.
Refuel Post-Training, Support Your Muscle And Bone Strength And Health, Enjoy Great Runs, And Strong Workouts!