What to eat at McDonald's after a hardcore workout
Eating mountains of fast food all day, every day probably isn't going to do your physique or your health much good.
A little treat of a juicy burger and fries every now and again won't do you too much harm though - unless you're on some spartan salad and chicken diet. Cheat meals can actually help you in the long run.
But if there's one time more than any when you can probably get away with a free shot at some delicious fast food, it's after a massive workout.
If you're hungover and laying on the sofa all day and you polish off a Big Mac meal, chances are it's going to be stored as fat.
But if you've just torn the gym to shreds or been out on a marathon run, there is more chance of those calories being used by your muscles rather than piled into your fat stores.
Your body will just hoover up all those calories for recovery.
It's backed by science. Researchers found there was no difference between eating McDonald's and sports nutrition drinks after a heavy cardio workout in a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism last year.
It basically looked at how to restore your reserves of carbohydrate (glycogen) after they had been depleted by an intense bike ride - and they found no difference in consuming the same amount of carb heavy McDonald's or carb-heavy sports supplements.
Why? 'Macronutrients are macronutrients' the study's author Brent Ruby PhD told Men's Health. 'The same results would be likely if you provided food items from Whole Foods or any farmer's market'.
Your body doesn't know the difference between 70g of carbs from a burger or 70g of carbs from a recovery drink.
And so it showed in the research - the calorie total was similar around 1,300 with power bars and sports drinks vs a menu of hashbrowns, orange juice, coke, fries and a hamburger - with no difference in recovery and subsequent performance.
So what's the best stuff to order McDonald's after a workout for recovery?
A punishing workout on the weights will break down your muscle fibres and deplete your stores of glycogen.
So ideally post workout nutrition should be high in protein, to repair and rebuild the muscle fibres, high in fast-acting carbohydrates.
Milkshake - Milk is a good source of protein and carbohydrate and many bodybuilders use it as cheap and effective alternative to protein shakes. A large chocolate milkshake from McDonald's contains 850 calories - with 20g of protein and 141g of carbs.
Big Mac - If you want protein and carbs quick, then the Big Mac could be a good bet if you want a mucky cheat. With 490 calories - including 28g of protein, 41g of carbs and 24g of fat - you won't regret it. Ask for no sauce or cheese to cut down on fat which slows down digestion. A quarter pounder has two more grams of protein.
Any kind of endurance events or training will drain your body of its stored carbohydrate. Your body stores around 500g of glycogen in the muscle and the liver.
But when you run a marathon, an endurance obstacle course or a killer bike ride you burn through this.
So your body will be crying out for fast-acting carbohydrates. You could buy a sports nutrition drink - or like the research found - you can swing by McDonald's to refill on carbs just as effectively.
Coke - What's the quickest way to get carbs into your body without mainlining sugar into a vein? Fizzy drinks. While we'd not normally recommend swigging down pop, if you've earned it after cycling 100 miles or doing a triathlon, knock yourself out. A large Coke at McDonald's. 300 calories with 81g of pure carbs will do the trick.
French Fries - They're never going to compete with the likes of sweet potato or quinoa in terms of healthy, low GI, satiating carbohydrates. But if you need some carbs quick and dirty, then large fries at Maccies has 510 calories and 67g of carbs.
If you're not a big McDonald's guy, then do as American guy did - eat a Chipotle every day until you get abs.