Eating the right foods, in the right amounts is the key to maintaining a healthy weight. This principle is also key in making sure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to stay strong. For these reasons, what you eat after a workout can either cause your body to store your food as fat or use it to refuel and replace muscle.
If you exercise on the Olympian level, eating is all part of your regimen and strictly regulated. However, if you exercise to maintain your health and keep your fitness level in check, eating can be a confusing part of the equation.
For the everyday fitness enthusiast, equipping yourself with some basic knowledge can go a long way.
For starters, there’s a “Magic Window” of about one hour after you complete your workout that your muscles are screaming for nutrients. Most people are really hungry after their workout, but you can’t fall in the trap of thinking you can eat anything you want, just because you worked out. Instead of giving in to “whatever,” choose wisely and help your body maintain all the good you’ve just accomplished.
What to Include in your “After Workout” meal:
1. Protein – Your muscles crave high-quality protein either from meat, shakes such as Muscle Milk or protein bars. Protein stops your body from breaking down muscle tissue for energy and causes it to repair and rebuild your muscle.
2. Carbohydrates – Your body needs carbohydrates or carbs to replace the glycogen (muscle fuel) that you used up during your workout.
3. Fats – Be careful of eating too much fat after your workout because it doesn’t play a significant role in post workout recovery. Fat can actually slow down digestion and keep muscles from getting nutrients quickly.
Here are some examples of what to eat after your workout:
Yogurt with fruit
Veggie omelet with toast or roll
Eggs and toast
Turkey, ham, chicken, or roast beef sandwich
Smoothie (with milk, yogurt, or added protein powder)