Are high-glycemic index foods back on the menu? How to cheat your way lean!

Refined and high glycemic index carbohydrates are generally a bad idea for the body: they spike blood insulin levels, contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes, raise bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol, increase risk of heart and brain disease, and are a leading contributor to the obesity epidemic. THAT SAID, there is ONE time per day when a little high-glycemic index carbohydrate does a body good…

Immediately post workout!

After a session of heavy weight lifting or intense metabolic training (no jogs or hour-long television watching sessions on the elliptical — sucking wind required), the body needs high-glycemic index carbs to help refuel glycogen stores in skeletal muscle. What does this mean? It means the body needs a little sugar to replace what you just burned, which in turn allows you to go hard again the next day.

Knowing this physiological tid-bit means that if you just can’t live without that piece of toast and jam, a chocolate chip cookie, or (dare I say it) banana cream pie or a pina colada, you CAN have what you crave. You just have to earn it.

In order to make this work, four rules apply.

  1. In order to make those carbs count, you have GOT to go hard. A jog won’t do it. A light circuit workout won’t do it. Zumba? Surely you jest. In order to earn a post-workout cheat you must either lift heavy (65-70% of your IRM minimum, focusing on large, lower body muscle groups), or you must have trained metabolically in a fashion that required you to get SERIOUSLY out of breath and recover several times during the workout.
  2. High glycemic index carbohydrates must be ingested in a 3 gram to 1 gram or 2 gram to 1 gram ratio with protein. This means that you should be pairing those 3 Chips a Hoy cookies with a vanilla protein shake or a few ounces of grilled meat. Ideally, you should aim to consume 25 grams of protein post workout combined with 50-75 grams of carbohydrate. The more intense your workout, the more carbohydrate your body will need.
  3. Fat CANNOT be part of the post-workout “cheat to shrink” equation. While high glycemic index carbohydrates will help with recovery and muscle-building post work, ingesting dietary fat within 60 minutes of a workout will stop fat fighting in its tracks. So slather that toasted white bread in jam, but steer clear of the butter.
  4. This “cheat to shrink” meal needs to be consumed as soon as humanly possible after your workout ends. In a perfect world this means within 15 minutes, however any time within an hour of the workout is fair game.

Need some specific suggestions on how to “cheat to shrink?” 16 ounces of cold, low fat chocolate milk contains perfect 2:1 carbs to protein ratio, and it’s easy enough to toss in your gym bag. Other ideas? Pair a vanilla whey protein shake with 3 small cookies. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, check out these two protein shake recipes – one for a protein pina colada and the other for a protein shake banana cream pie.

Pina Colada

Best post workout when the body is in need of the additional sugar in the pineapple.

8 ounces cold water
20-40 g vanilla flavored whey protein powder
½ c Canned Crushed Pineapple
½ t Coconut Extract
1 c Ice

Combine all of the above in a blender and process until smooth. Enjoy.
332 Calories, 24.75 g protein, 53 g carbohydrate, 3.2 g fat.

Banana Cream Pie

Best post workout when the body is in need of the additional sugar in the banana and cookies

20-40 g vanilla flavored whey protein powder
1 Ripe Medium Banana (4.2 oz)
8 Vanilla Wafer Cookies
1 c Ice

Combine all of the above in a blender and process until smooth. Enjoy.
375 Calories, 27.3 g protein, 53 g carbohydrate, 7.4 g fat.