Many fitness enthusiasts only give importance to a pre-workout meal. But it is equally important to take care of what to eat after a workout. Because workouts are exhausting! and your body needs food nourishment to speed up the recovery process.
This article is a detailed guide on types of food and nutrients that will help you in post-workout recovery. Also there are sample meal ideas that you can try and explore new ways of enjoying eating food.
Remember, if you want to recover well from an exhausting workout, take care of the food nourishment or it will become one of the reasons why exercise makes you tired and not energized.
What happens to the Body after the Workout?
After putting a lot of effort into a workout, the body gets tired and besides rest, it craves food. For recovery and best performance in the next workout, it is hence necessary to choose the right food after a workout.
Is it Good to Eat after a Workout?
The short answer is Yes! Eating the right food after workout helps in recovering the glycogen and speed up the recovery process.
During workout, muscles use their glycogen stores for fuel. As a result, they get momentarily depleted of glycogen. Some of the proteins in the muscles also break and get damaged.
As a result, after the workout, the body tries to rebuild glycogen stores and try to regrow the muscle proteins. This is where the right nutrients after a workout play their role. Nutrients help your body get the recovery done faster.
Evidently, Carbs and Proteins after a workout are the best nutrients. They help:
- minimize muscle protein breakdown
- increase muscle protein growth
- improve glycogen stores
- and speed up recovery
When to eat after a workout?
Rebuilding glycogen and protein is necessary after a workout. Though the timing does not need to be exact, it is recommended to consume a combination of carbs and protein within 45 minutes after working out.
In fact, experts say that the delay in carbs consumption as little as two hours after a workout can lead to 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis. But if a meal is consumed before a workout, it is expected that the benefits from that meal will still help after training.
What to Eat post-workout?
In a post-workout meal, eat foods that digest easily. The ones that will lead to faster nutrient absorption and quick recovery. For instance, foods that digest easily are rich in Carbohydrates and Proteins.
Foods Rich in Carbohydrates:
Some of the best post workout carbs for good nutrition and faster replenishment include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Chocolate Milk
- Fruits like pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi
- Rice cakes
- Green vegetables
Foods Rich in Proteins:
- Protein powder
- Protein bar
Sample post-workout meals
A combination of foods listed above can create good meals that provide the right nutrients needed after exercise. Additionally, here are a few examples of meals to eat after the workout:
1. Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables
2. Egg omelet with avocado spread on toast
3. Salmon and sweet potato
4. Tuna salad sandwich with whole-grain bread
5. Whey protein, Oatmeal, almonds, and banana
6. Cottage cheese and fruits
7. Pita with hummus
8. Peanut butter with some rice crackers
9. Almond butter with grain toast
10. Skim milk and cereal
11. Yogurt, berries, and granola
12. Protein shake and banana
13. Quinoa bowl with berries and pecans
14. Grain bread and raw peanuts
Putting all things together:
Consuming carbs and proteins is very important after workout. They stimulate muscle protein synthesis, enhance the body’s recovery and improve your performance for the next workout.
Try to eat within 45 minutes after the workout or eat something an hour or two before exercising so that the affects of nourishment and repair that food will bring to your body is still there.