Most people work out to lose weight. I would say, burn fat should be the goal and not lose weight. After all, one should not lose weight by losing muscle or water. Fat is the real enemy.
Because of this weight loss mindset, many choose not to eat after exercising or working out at gym. Even if some dare to eat, they go for purely protein. Let’s look into this topic – Should We Eat After Exercising or Working Out?
When we exercise at a moderate to high intensity level, we actually deplete energy in the form of glycogen (stored in our muscle and liver cells). Our brain relies on this glycogen for fuel. If we do not replenish this energy storage after our workout, muscle tissue will be broken into usable energy source. By not eating anything will therefore result in muscle loss. When we lose muscle, our metabolism will slow down. Subsequently, weight loss will become even more difficult.
Therefore, we should eat within an hour right after the workout. Within this period, enzymes that make glycogen are most active and quickly replace depleted glycogen stores in the muscles. This golden period should not be taken lightly. You do not want to spend significant amount of time training your muscles, but only to eat after 3 or 4 hours. Having said that, you do not have to start eating in the gym right after you put down your dumbbells.
Rule of the thumb is – you do not have to eat a lot, but you should eat something after training.