Typically, after I finish a tough workout, I find myself too nauseous to consume anything at all. I know this is not good and have recently been trying really hard to incorporate post-workout snacks into my routine.
Although eating anything is better than nothing, the snack you choose can greatly affect the way your body recovers. Gulping down a sugary drink or the first snack you see can result in instant gratification but will harm your body in the long-run.
Right after vigorous activity the body might be lacking nutrients like carbohydrates, sodium potassium and protein. According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA) you should be replacing these nutrients within fifteen minutes to an hour of your workout. For maximum recovery the ADA recommends that you consume 0.5-0.7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight to replenish glycogen stores.
Your post-workout protein needs will need to be estimated in a similar manner. The ADA recommends that active individuals consume 1.2-1.7 grams of lean protein per kg of body weight on a daily basis. Follow the following steps to figure out your protein needs after your workout:
1. Divide your body weight in lbs by 2.2 to convert your weight in lbs to kg.
2. Multiply this number by one that is between 1.2-1.7 depending on the intensity of your workout.
3. Decide how many servings of protein you eat at each meal (1 serving is 7 grams)
4. Supplement the remainder of protein following your workout.
Remember, meeting your protein and carbohydrate needs through your diet is always preferred over supplementation. Also remember to always consume water prior to, during and after activity. For more information check out the following ADA link about Sports Nutrition or download this PDF about foods high in protein .
The following are some healthy snack ideas that can easily be synthesized and digested by the body:
1.) Whole wheat bread with nut or almond butter and banana
Bananas are high in fructose (fruit sugar) and can quickly convert to energy. Whole wheat bread releases energy into the body slower than white bread for sustained energy and adding peanut butter or another nut butter will add protein as well as healthy fat for muscle repair.
My personal favorite post-workout snack!
2.) Low fat chocolate milk
Low fat chocolate milk is a recovery super-food. It has just the right ratio of carbohydrate to protein to replenish glycogen stores and repair damaged muscle tissue. This drink is portable and is extremely useful for endurance athletes like cyclists and long-distance runners.
3.) Non-fat greek yogurt with fresh fruit
Loaded with protein, greek yogurt can be a great snack at any time of day, and adding fruit will provide the carbohydrates needed for energy replenishment.
4.) Whole wheat crackers with hummus
Hummus provides protein and paired with the grains of whole wheat crackers for carbohydrates can make for a quick and easy snack to follow your workout.
Remember to be truthful and honest with yourself about how hard you worked to prevent overeating. If your workout was short and you barely broke a sweat, following it with a 4th meal probably isn’t necessary. Get to know your body and pay attention to how it feels when you experiment with different refueling options.