Best Post-Workout Foods
Eating a well balanced meal after a workout is vital as it will help get you the results you want and just as important as your pre-workout meal. When you are working out your body uses up energy which is in the form of glycogen in our muscles so it is vital to fill those back up. After a workout your body will try to rebuild the muscles that have broken down. If you eat the correct nutrients it will speed up this process and you can get better results. Eating a good post-workout meal will help you in many ways such as, Enhances recovery, Restores glycogen storage and increases muscle growth. Here are the benefits and best foods for after a solid workout.
If you would like to read about the Best Pre-Workout Foods click here.
Post Workout Meal Benefits
Enhances Recovery – After a workout is when your body really begins to build up them muscles. This is because in the gym your muscles are being broke down as they are being worked so hard. After a workout your muscles need time to recover and rebuild and this process will be helped by eating correctly. Consuming the correct foods will speed up this recovery time and will allow your muscles to build up stronger over time.
Restores Glycogen Storage – During a workout your body uses up lots of energy which is in the form of glycogen. We get this energy from carbohydrates and other foods before a workout. After a workout our muscles are depleted of glycogen so it is vital to fill them back up. If you do not eat after a workout you will notice yourself being very drained and tired this is because all of the energy is gone from the muscles. Hydration is also vital so drinking water after a workout will make sure you avoid illness and other symptoms.
Increases Muscle Growth – Our muscles breakdown when we are working out whether we are lifting weights or any other type of exercise. Our muscles are made up of protein and when they breakdown they need specific proteins from foods to rebuild. The correct nutrition can lead to them rebuilding stronger and you will get the results you have been looking for faster. This is why protein shakes are so common for a post-workout meal. Drinking one straight after a heavy session will help muscles growth drastically.
When & What to Eat
A post-workout meal should be eaten as soon as possible straight after if it is possible. Protein shakes are so good because they can be drank a few minutes after a gym session which allows our muscles to begin rebuilding a lot faster. The protein is what allows our muscles to rebuild. This is because our muscles are made up of protein. When rebuilding our body uses natural proteins and proteins that we gain from food to repair after they are damaged during a workout. Just like before a workout there are 2 main things that you must have in your post-workout meal. They are protein and carbohydrates. This is why.
Protein- Protein helps build & repair muscles. As explained above, exercise forces our muscles to breakdown. If you consume the correct amount of protein after a workout, it will give your body the amino acids it needs to repair these broken down muscles and rebuild them. Consuming anywhere between 20-40 grams of protein will maximize muscle recovery and repair. Also, it will help the body be able to repair broken down muscles a lot faster.
Carbohydrates- During a workout your body uses up energy which is in the form of glycogen. You get glycogen from carbohydrates. Having a very balanced pre-workout meal with lots of carbs will help you get through your gym session as you will have more energy stored. Your body consumes more energy dependent on what exercise you are doing. Cardio based exercise will use up more energy that if you were dead lifting for example. So after a cardio workout you would need to consume more carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen storage than you would have to if you were weight lifting. The best way to get an accurate measurement of how much carbs to eat is by working to the 3:1 Carbs to Protein ratio. So 30 grams of protein would amount to 90 grams of carbohydrates.
Fats – Fats are always perceived as bad and that you should stay away from them. It has been proven that eating a high fat meal after a workout does not have any detrimental effect on glycogen synthesis. Fats however would slow down the breakdown of your post workout meal but more importantly will not reduce the benefits.
Hydration – This is one of the most important things to do after a workout. Drinking plenty of water will make sure your body is working fully and you are not feeling tired. Also during a workout you sweat alot which cools your body down so drinking water will re hydrate your body and help with the rest of your day. Finally staying hydrated will help when your body is repairing & rebuilding its muscles.
Protein Shakes – Protein shakes are the most common type of post-workout meal. There are so many benefits. These are being able to drink it straight after a gym session which means our muscles are repairing and recovering straight away. Protein shakes are full of protein and this will give our body the amino acids it needs to build our muscles backs stronger.
Chicken and Sweet Potato – Sweet potatoes are the perfect carb as they are slow releasing carbs so this allows your energy levels to be maintained as well as helping your body rebuild. Chicken is a great source of protein and will provide amino acids for your muscles to use to rebuild and recover.