Ever heard the popular saying that food and workout go hand in hand? Trying to achieve your fitness goal without either is an impossible task. Trust me, I’ve tried! When I started working out four years ago, I didn’t know I was in for a disappointment. I was doing everything from cardio to weight lifting to reach my fitness goal but all in vain. Until my trainer pointed out the benefits of post-workout meals. That’s when I realised how important it is to nourish your body after a great workout. If you’ve been neglecting your post-workout nutrition then you need to change your habit ASAP. Read on to understand why.
We can’t stress how important it is to never skip your post-workout meals. Why? Well, when you’re working out, your muscles use up their glycogen — the body’s preferred fuel source, especially during high-intensity workouts. This results in your muscles being partially depleted of glycogen. Some of the proteins in your muscles can also be broken down and damaged. And after your workout is complete, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores as well as repair and regrow those muscle proteins. This is where your post-workout meals come into the picture. Eating the right nutrients soon after you exercise can help your body get this done faster. Each macronutrient — protein, carbs, and fat — is involved in your body’s post-workout recovery process. Keep reading to find out why these nutrients make for a fantastic post-workout meal.
It’s really simple– your body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish them. The rate at which your glycogen stores are used depends on the activity. Consuming 0.5–0.7 grams of carbs per pound (1.1–1.5 grams/kg) of body weight within 30 minutes after training results in proper glycogen resynthesis.
Exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein. The rate at which this happens depends on your type of workout and its intensity. This is why consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also gives you the building blocks required to build new muscle tissue. But that doesn’t mean you stock up and eat a whole lotta protein in one go. It’s recommended that you consume 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.3–0.5 grams/kg) soon after a workout.
Surprised to see fats on the list? We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again that fats are not your enemies, guys. Yes, fats might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal, but it will not reduce its benefits. While it might be a good idea to limit the amount of fat you eat after exercise, having some fat in your post-workout meal will not affect your recovery.
Did you know that downing the right food after your workout is as important as the workout itself? Having your post-workout nutrition promotes quicker recovery, reduces muscle soreness, builds muscle, improves immune system functioning, and replenishes glycogen. That being said, we know how confusing it can get choosing the right foods for your post-workout meal which is why we’ve rounded up the best foods to eat after a workout to lose weight and the best meals to eat after workout for muscle gain.
We hate to break it to you but downing a protein bar after your workout isn’t nutrition at all! You need real food as your post-workout meal in order for the body to recover from the hard workout. Just like good overall nutrition, you should strive for a variety of foods—each of which carries its own unique lineup of good-for-you-nutrients. Confused? Don’t be. Here are a few food options that make for a great after-workout meal.
If you thought that a post-workout meal is necessary only for people who want to bulk up then you couldn’t be more wrong. Whether you want to gain muscle or lose weight, a post-workout meal is extremely important. However, the food choices will differ depending on the goal. Here are some food options that make for a fantastic post-workout meal for weight loss.
Food options for post-workout meals for weight loss.
An omelette with avocado spread on toast
Oatmeal with almonds, whey protein, and banana
Hummus and pita
Cottage cheese with berries
Greek yogurt and berries
Quinoa with avocado, dried fruits, and nuts
Soybean and chickpea salad
Whole grain wraps/tortillas
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What to eat after a workout to build muscle
If you’re looking to bulk up, then we can’t stress enough on how important it is to include a great post-workout meal in your diet. Here are some food options that can help you build muscle.
Brown rice and chicken breast
Scrambled eggs in a whole-wheat pita
Grilled chicken strips with veggies and hummus
Black bean omelette
Almond butter and jam sandwich
Lentils and chickpeas
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Post Workout Meals
If you’re looking for more post-workout meal options, then check out the following meals that you can indulge in after your workout.
Chia seed pudding
Fruit and yogurt smoothie
Eggs and whole-wheat toast with veggies
Chocolate protein milkshake
Salmon with sweet potatoes
Turkey on whole grain bread with veggies
Whey protein milkshake
Burrito with beans
Steamed vegetables with tofu
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