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How To Refuel After Pole Class

By on November 11, 2015

Finish pole class and then want to eat everything in sight? It’s not just you.

Where I live, it’s a minimum 35 minute drive for me to attend the closest pole studio, with other studios (for example, where I go for flexibility training) 45 minutes away or longer. While I don’t mind taking the trip to attend my favorite classes, one thing is for sure: after an hour or two in class and that drive home, by the time I get in the house I’m hungry. And once I get through the front door, I want to eat everything in the house.

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You don’t have to be trekking miles and miles to and from a studio to experience this same phenomenon. Maybe you train at home and once you’ve worked up an appetite you just reach for whatever is available. Or maybe your studio is right down the street, but on the way home you tend to stop at the gas station or corner store for a for a packaged snack instead of waiting to prepare a meal.

Whatever the reason, you might have experienced that feeling of being incredibly hungry after a workout and resorting to eating anything you can get your hands on. While it can be tempting just to find something quick to eat to get your grumbling stomach under control, a little pre-planning can help you use this time to your advantage.

By planning ahead, you can do two things:

1) You can avoid eating junk food just because it’s convenient and accessible when you’re extra hungry. Instead, you’ll have set yourself up for success by having healthier options ready to go.

2) You can take advantage of the window of time after your workout when your body needs to refuel. This is the perfect time to get in some protein and good carbohydrates so that you can build muscle and replenish your energy stores. By doing so, you’re really getting the most out of your workout.

So whether you’re poling at home, training at the studio, or just want to be better about eating well after any workout, you can maximize your training by getting a combination of healthy carbs and protein after you work out. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

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Make It: Snack Bites

Whether you like key lime pie, peanut butter chocolate chip, or one of the dozens of other recipes you can find around the internet, snack bites (sometimes called energy/protein bites or bliss balls) can be the perfect alternative to the frequently sugar-laden protein bars found in stores. Choose recipes that use whole, healthy ingredients, and be sure to include a source of protein to really refuel your body after a hard workout. (Note that sometimes these bites are best stored in the refrigerator, so you may want to have them ready at home or pack them in an insulated lunch box in your gym bag.)

Photo via EpicBar.com.

Buy It: Protein Bars

There are so many options for protein bars in stores. Unfortunately, a lot of them contain significant amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners, protein powders of dubious quality, or sugar alcohols that can be hard on your digestive system. If you like to keep a protein bar or powder on hand for when you’re in a pinch, it’s important to be discerning about your selections and to remember that it’s better not to rely on them as meal replacements too often. Look for brands with recognizable ingredients, low sugar content, and a quality protein source.

Epic bars, RxBars, and Larabars (particularly their ALT bars, which have extra protein) are just a few of the better protein bar options you might keep on hand. And if you really want to splurge, Lenny & Larry’s vegan protein cookies are delicious–but keep your eye on the portion sizes and know that only some of their flavors are soy-free.

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Make It: Smoothies

For a quick, easy, and portable snack or meal, it’s hard to beat a smoothie. It’s an opportunity to combine lots of nutritious ingredients into one beverage, which you can bring with you to drink after class or whip up quickly at home. Make your favorite flavor of green smoothie or keep it simple by blending a scoop of protein powder with a frozen banana and almond milk.  Just make sure you go for protein powders that are plant-based (skip the soy and try for hemp or pea protein instead) or made from a good quality animal source. (Tip: make your smoothie in advance and freeze it. Then bring it along to class with you, making sure to give it plenty of time to thaw out before you drink it).

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Keep It On Hand

It can also be helpful to stock your kitchen with ingredients that make it easy to whip up a quick mini meal after a workout, as well as foods that might transport easily for the car ride home. Remember to pair your protein with some healthy carbohydrates for an extra powerful meal. Give some of these simple combinations a try:

  • Cottage cheese + piece of fruit
  • Plain Greek yogurt + piece of fruit
  • Hard boiled egg + fruit
  • Apple or banana + almond butter (these packets are especially convenient to carry with you)
  • Trail mix (or any combination of fruit and nuts)
  • Baked sweet potato + pecans + cinnamon
  • Hummus + whole wheat pita
  • Chia pudding
  • Tuna + crackers
  • Peanut or almond butter on toast

Remember, you can make the most out of your post-pole meal by planning ahead. Stock up your refrigerator, your gym bag, and your lunchbox with your favorite nutritious foods to ensure that you’re never caught after your workout without a healthy option on hand, and enjoy the re-energizing, muscle-building benefits that come from properly refueling your body.

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Paige Lysaght

Paige Lysaght

is a Certified Health Coach, AFAA certified fitness instructor, and parkour and aerial arts studio owner.
Paige Lysaght

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