What you eat can affect how you feel during and after your exercise. Many people focus solely on their pre-workout meal, leaving their post workout meal as an afterthought. Your post workout meal may be as important as your pre-workout meal.
This is because during exercise your body uses up glycogen which is your body’s chosen source of fuel. This use of glycogen depletes your muscles of glycogen. At the same time the proteins in your muscles are being broken down and damaged.
After your exercise your body is going to need to replace the used up glycogen, repair and regrow muscle proteins. Eating the right nutrients can help your body achieve these goals; decrease muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle growth, restore glycogen stores, and enhance recovery.
Workout Recovery Foods
Protein is important in the post workout meal. Protein gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild. It helps rebuild muscle tissue. Eggs are a great source of protein because it is known as a complete protein. A complete protein has all 9 amino acids that your body needs. If you don’t have time after your workout to scramble you up some eggs, having a hard boiled one will give you all those needed amino acids.
Salmon is another great protein source because it is also high in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega threes will help decrease muscle soreness caused by inflammation.
Other options of good proteins after workouts are fish like tuna or salmon, beans, chicken, plant based protein powders, cottage cheese, or a protein bar.
The next thing your body needs in your post workout meal is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates help your body refuel glycogen. To see best results, having some carbohydrates within 30 minutes of exercising helps proper glycogen resynthesis.
Insulin secretion promotes glycogen synthesis. Insulin secretion is best when carbohydrates and protein are eaten together. Protein and carbohydrates meal ideas could be whole wheat toast with scrambled eggs, whole grain turkey wrap, or a peanut butter sandwich.
Other carbohydrates that are good post workout are brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, rice cakes, or pasta. Sweet potatoes are also a good immune booster with a high amount of vitamin A in them as well. Chocolate milk has also shown to help recovery be faster.
Healthy fats are not a bad post workout option either. Avocado is a great thing to add onto whole wheat toast, or even onto a wrap. Avocado is high in potassium and magnesium which can help stop muscle cramps.
Nuts, nut butter, seeds, or trail mixes are also a good choice for a post workout snack or meal addition.
Greek yogurt with fruit added is a great post workout meal. Greek yogurt is high in protein while the fruit is a great energy boosting carbohydrate. If you use blueberries that are high in antioxidants you get an even bigger benefit. Antioxidants can help reduce muscle inflammation.
Timing Your Meal Is Important
To get the best benefit from your foods after your workout it is important to eat relatively soon after working out. Within a few hours. It used to be said you needed to eat within 45 minutes after workout completion, but benefits are inconclusive. Especially depending on what you had for your pre-workout. Your pre-workout nutrition may stretch to after your workout allowing you to wait a little bit before needing your post workout.
Don’t Forget Hydration
Hydration is equally as important. Hydrating before, during and after is extremely important while working out. Before workout aim for 2-3 cups of water. Try to drink about half a cup every 15-20 minutes during your workout. After workout make sure you drink 2-3 cups of water for every pound you lose during your workout. This can be figured out by weighing yourself before and after your workout.
If you workout for an hour or less then you will be fine to rehydrate your body with just water. If you have a high intensity workout that lasts longer than an hour you will need to replace electrolytes in your body as well. Electrolytes are sodium, potassium, and magnesium that help your body stay hydrated.
Nutritional Recovery Is Important
How intensely you workout may change how much protein, and carbohydrates you will need to help your body recover. For best results eating a mixture of protein and carbohydrates is important for your body to decrease muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle growth, restore glycogen stores, and enhance recovery.
If you are short on time, meal prepping can be your saving grace for a healthy post workout meal. Pre workout and post workout meals should be equally important, as well as making sure you stay hydrated.
How often you work out can also be a factor in how much protein and carbohydrates you need to help restore your glycogen stores before your next workout. A few days in between workouts can be beneficial to your body’s recovery process.
Want an all natural post workout rehydration solution? Try Purium’s Super Lytes! Super Lytes is the ultimate rehydration and electrolyte supplement made from natural ingredients. A great alternative to sodium pills and artificial sports drinks.
Your Post-Workout Meal is as important as your Pre-Workout Meal! Understanding Nutrition for Repair! #HealthSurgeon
READ MORE: 6 Best Ways To Recover From Heavy Workouts