Today I'm going to explain why you should eat Haribo Gummy Bears after a workout.
I know what you're thinking...
"Has Russ gone crazy?
Why would I want to eat sweets, after the gym no less?!"
But trust me.
This is something I've had my personal training clients (and myself) doing for over ten years, and it's excellent for results.
Sure, they get strange looks while tucking into a handful of sweets after their session, but just because it's "sweets" doesn't automatically mean it's bad for results. Because, believe it or not, one of the very best foods you can eat alongside your post-workout whey protein shake is Haribo Gummy Bears!
That's right, those tasty little gold bears that look like they'll instantly take up accommodation around your waistline.
Haribo Gummy Bears (or Haribo Gold Bears as they're known here in the UK) provide your body with near-perfect post-workout carbohydrates and simultaneously help to curb most junk food cravings.
Sure, you could obtain your post-workout carbs from mixing a fancy “carb powder” (i.e. maltodextrin) into your whey protein, but that's like voluntarily drinking wallpaper paste. Plus, the psychological advantage of allowing yourself a secret little treat food is massive for most people.
Let's break down what happens once you finish a tough session (like this leg workout).
In order to begin post-workout recovery, our body is craving nutrition to restock our depleted muscles.
Namely, it's looking for a source of protein and carbohydrates.
When it comes to protein, whey is probably the most popular choice.
And for good reason.
It's convenient and it is broken down very quickly, meaning it'll hit your muscles a lot quicker than real food.
Fitness tradition will tell you that you also need some fast-release carbohydrates with your protein, because this will spike your insulin levels and therefore speed up the delivery of the nutrients to your hungry muscle cells.
This makes sense, in theory.
But it's not true.
Whey protein creates a spike in insulin levels (albeit a small one) that's large enough to speed up the delivery of those vital nutrients all on it's own. (1, 2, 3, 4)
No, the real reason your body wants carbohydrates is because you're f**king starving, and are much more likely to dive head first into your fridge unless you get some quality nutrition right away.
It's simple calorie control in action.
Enter Haribo Gummy Bears.
You see, when it comes to selecting the source of carbohydrates, people often mistakenly go for fruit.
Hey, now, I'm not saying fruit is bad for you.
(Far from it, in fact..)
Fruit is great for you, and you should definitely be eating it, but during the post-workout window it’s not the number one choice.
That is because around 50% of the sugar found in fruit is fructose.
Fructose needs to be broken down by the body before it can be used, thereby slowing down the process of feeding your muscles after a tough workout.
We are looking for post-workout carbohydrates where the sugar arrives in the form of dextrose (also known as Glucose). Dextrose doesn’t need to be broken down by the body, therefore giving you superior results.
Haribo Gummy Bears are ideal for this, as are Wonka Pixy Stix, as the main ingredient is (you guessed it) dextrose.
In the introduction to this article, I mentioned how important the psychological effect can be for some people.
See, as well as killing those post-workout cravings with a fast-acting source of carbohydrates with a very small calorie total, they serve a higher purpose.
A couple of years ago, a female client came to me for weight loss advice.
She was worried that she was never going to reach her weight loss goals.
This lady happened to be an avid WeightWatchers member trying to lose a certain number of pounds for her wedding. She found it very hard to stick to her diet plan (due to her love of sweets) and was absolutely dreading the next group meeting.
First of all, I know how she felt.
Those group sessions are great if you've got results. But if you haven't, they feel more like medi-evil sacrifice ceremonies.
(That's a rant for another day..)
Instead of going all #fitspo and telling her that she "didn't want it badly enough", then giving her a diet of chicken and rice, I took some time to show her that the best time to eat sweets is after a workout.
Sure enough, she achieved all of her goals without falling off her diet once.
The best part? In her own words:
"I got results while still eating a few sweets, but everyone else at my club looked like they’d been punishing themselves. The moment I started "earning" a handful of jellies after a session, I lost the urge to binge eat on a night time, too."
And there's the key.
Of course, it is very important to remember that common sense still applies. I am not advising you to eat only these little pieces of heaven and nothing else. I'm not hailing them as the next big 'super food' or trying to start 'The Haribo Diet' (imagine?!)...
I realize you probably know that already, because you're smart.
Heck, you read my website.
But I mention this because the fitness world is legitimately f**king crazy, and the first time I gave somebody this tip in a gym here's what they told their friends:
"Russ says eat Haribo and you'll lose weight, so that's what I'll do!"
I know. That's putting words into my mouth. And quite frankly I'd rather you were putting jellies into my mouth.
This is a technique I've used for years, both in my own training, and with personal training clients.
It's something that just flat out works.
So if you'd like to give my post-workout Haribo Gummy Bears technique a try, the main question you're probably wondering is "How many should I have?"
After a workout, my clients try to have 30 grams of carbs alongside their whey protein shake.
In jelly currency, that's about 17 bears.
This is a big enough serving to curb any post-workout hunger issues. Not that the insulin spike is really necessary (the majority of available research suggests that post-workout protein is enough for this aspect, as discussed above) but it's worth knowing that 30g carbs will have the exact same effect as a massive 90g carbs, so even if the research swings back on itself further down the line you know that there is no need to go overboard anyway! (5)
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