Do you aim to get the best from your exercise sessions? Many of us focus on pre-workout meals, but tend to overlook our post-workout food. But remember, post-workout meals are just as crucial for fitness – they provide much-needed fuel for the body’s recovery and revival post a heavy-duty workout session.
After a hard workout, our bodies utilize our energy due to which our muscles take a little hit. That’s why in the time after we finish exercising, our bodies work overtime to fix up those muscles and refill our energy stores. Eating a meal with the right mix of proteins and carbs right after working out can help our bodies do this, helping us build those muscles stronger and restock our energy quicker.
3 Main components of post-workout food – Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats
Protein, carbs, and fat are crucial to post-exercise recovery. Eating the right combination is key. Your after-exercise meal should have 20-40 grams of protein to help repair and build muscles.
It is also important to refill the energy used during exercise, especially for long-lasting sports. So, do not shy away from carbs post-sweat-session. You might need more than those primarily lifting weights, but regardless, your plate should showcase a nutrient-rich carb source. Depending on the intensity of your exercise and your body weight, you might have to consume as much as 3.6-5.5 grams of carbs per pound of your body weight.
Contrary to popular belief, consuming fats post-exercise is not definitively harmful. Although fats might slow down nutrient absorption, several studies suggest this doesn’t downsize recovery benefits. Consuming foods rich in healthy fats, like avocados and nuts, could be advantageous.
Timing is Key
Post-workout food matters. Experts recommend eating 45 minutes to an hour after exercise. This is when your body best absorbs energy and protein.
What should your plate look like?
Wondering how to translate this guide into the perfect post-workout food? Here are some suggestions:
Intake of carb-rich food such as sweet potatoes, whole grains like quinoa or rice, fresh fruits such as pineapple, bananas, berries, or even chocolate milk.
Protein can be obtained from eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and lean meats like salmon and chicken. Plant or animal-based protein powders or protein bars are quick, convenient alternatives too.
Include wholesome fats like avocados, nuts, or nut spreads in your meals. Suggestions for meals after exercise: grilled chicken with vegetables and rice, an omelette with toast topped with avocado, Greek yogurt with berries and granola, or a banana and a protein shake.
4) Hydration Matters
Drink plenty of water for better results. You lose water and electrolytes when you sweat. Hence drinking plenty of water is necessary to enhance recovery and overall performance.
In summary, paying attention to post-workout food is just as essential as strapping up for a healthy pre-exercise meal. Consuming an ample amount of carbs and protein post-workout can lead to enhanced recovery and optimized workout results. So, fuel your sweat-powered engine aptly and watch your fitness journey move onto the fast track.