by: Marci Resnick
You’ve all heard people tell you about the importance of fueling your body BEFORE your workouts, but did you realize that what you consume post workout is just as important, if not more, to reaching your desired fitness goals?
With out a lot of technical science, the bottom line is this: After hard exercise, your muscles are broken down, energy stores ( glycogen) are typically depleted and fluid or electrolytes are often lost in the form of sweat. Post workout meals are essential for repairing & building that hard earned muscle while replacing fluids and electrolytes are necessary to avoid future dehydration. Both of these things will also help you recover better, build muscle and prepare you for your NEXT workout.
What EXACTLY should I be eating after my workout?
The truth of the matter is there is no one size fits all answer to this question. Different workouts require different foods, but the bottom line is your post workout recovery food should include both protein AND carbohydrates. Those participating in intense weight lifting workouts should consume about 20-30gm of lean protein and 30-40gm of healthy carbohydrates as soon as possible after completing their workout, while a person doing a lighter aerobic workout should consume a balanced meal consisting of equal amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Some research does also suggest that the closer you eat to the end of your workout, the better results you will see. In addition to consuming your post workout meal, it is important to replace lost electrolytes and fluids with plenty of water post workout.
What makes for a good post workout recovery meal?
If you’re in a rush with little time to prepare, a protein shake with your choice of milk/water, and fruit is a great go to meal. If protein powder isn’t your thing, greek yogurt/cottage cheese with fruit, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread and/ or even a glass of good ole fashioned chocolate milk will get the job done. If you’re looking for something that’s more substantial but portable try a whole grain tortilla wrap with low sodium sliced turkey with lettuce and other veggies. Lastly, if its breakfast or lunchtime and you need something more substantial to keep you energized throughout the day, some ground turkey breast or chicken, brown rice and/or quinoa and broccoli or perhaps scrambled eggs with veggies and sweet potatoes are an excellent choice.
If you’re looking for maximum results, don’t skip the post recovery snack or meal! Hard workouts leave your muscles starving for fuel. Broken down muscles need adequate nutrients to repair tissue damaged during exercise and build that beautiful metabolically active muscle! Remember, the more muscle you have on your body the more calories you burn, so….eat your post recovery meal as soon as your workout ends and grow that muscle!
Want to Learn More?
inMotion Fitness & Wellness offers personalized Nutrition Coaching. Instead of the all-or-nothing dieting approach, they use a sustainable, practice-based approach to build healthy habits into your life, one day at a time. With their help, you will gain the skills and education you need to look and feel better for life. Ready to Learn More?