After a workout, I just want water – right? After all, why would I want to put calories back in my body, especially if I’ve just burned them off?
Of course you want to replace the water that you’ve just sweat out, but if water is all that you take in, you’re probably wasting your workout. To burn fat and build muscle you need to keep your body in an anabolic state (a favorable state in the body created by a combination of good training, nutrition and rest that leads to increased lean muscle mass and fat loss or simply a muscle-saving state).
When you finish your workout, whether you’ve just completed an hour of cardio or just weights, your body is in a catabolic state (the opposite of anabolic, a muscle-wasting state). Simply put, your body is starving! The same thing happened when you skipped all those meals earlier. Skip a meal and your body stores the next calorie as fat!
Remember when your body is starving it begins breaking down muscle tissue (not fat) into sugar or glucose so that your body can continue to have the necessary energy it needs to keep its metabolic rate constant. Sure, over time your body loses weight, but it loses more muscle than fat and the net result is you have a higher fat to muscle ratio which slows your metabolism even more than before you started and makes it harder and harder to lose weight.