Recently, the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism decided to published a study that measured glycogen levels after 11 male athletes’ ate fast food or sports supplements after a work out. What they discovered gives hope to all the people out there who love indulging in the drive-thru after a grueling workout session.
Before the experiment began, the participants fasted for 12 hours. They then had the fun task of completing a 90-minute endurance workout – I’d work out for science, I guess.
After they completed their exercise task, half of the participants were fed a meal that consisted of pancakes, hash browns and orange juice. Yum. The other half were fed peanut putter, Cliff Shot Bloks and Gatorade. Not so yum, but hey, food is food I guess.
Two hours later, the same group that got the delicious breakfast ate one burger, French fries and drank a Coke. The second group had the supplement Cytomax powder and PowerBars. Wow, I feel so bad for the guys that were in the second group.
The meals were close to being identical from a nutritional standpoint, but the fast food was slightly higher in sodium and fat. Go figure.
After the participants got two hours to let all their food digest, they completed a 12- mile ride on a stationary bike at full speed.
The same tasks were performed the next week; only this time the men switched groups. Game changer Here is what lead researcher, grad student Michael Cramer, had to say about the results from the experiment.
“These data indicate that short-term food options to initiate glycogen re-synthesis can include dietary options not typically marketed as sports nutrition products such as fast food menu item.”
While the long-term effects of fast food consumption post-workout are unclear, according to this study the food one consumes after a workout has little to no effect on how the body creates and burns fuel.
So the next time you are doing hitting the gym, opt for a milkshake instead of a protein shake. You deserve it, and science allows it.