This is one of the most popular topics being discussed around the fitness blogosphere.
Because seriously, who doesn’t get hungry after a good workout?
When you work out your body exerts a lot of effort. Most of the time, people are more likely to think about what they will eat before a workout for fear of passing out while exercising.
But not a lot of people know that planning your post-workout meal is as important as planning your pre-workout meal.
The problem with not planning what you will eat after a workout is you go crazy and eat a lot rendering all your efforts at the gym useless.
So how do you plan your meals after a workout?
It comes down to a simple idea: Good Quality Nutrition. And this basically just means no chocolate bar or pizza.
Do not reach for the nearest chips when you get home after a workout you have to plan your right-after-workout meal because that next hour after the gym is very crucial to the body. t
I call the hour after a workout “The Golden Hour.” This is the time when your body is craving for protein and carbohydrates and other nutrients so that it can recover and repair whatever wear and tear it has gone through from the intense workout. It needs to
Golden because this is the optimum and most important time after the workout where your body is craving for protein and carbohydrates to refuel your muscles so that they can repair and recover stronger preparing it for the next workout.
Let us also try and understand how your body works:
– When you work out, your body not only burns calories but it also uses up your glycogen. Stored in the muscles and liver. Glycogen is what gives humans the source of energy. These are drawn from the food you eat and stored in the muscle and liver. When your body needs energy the stored glycogen will provide you with that.
The more you exercise, the more glycogen is used up. When glycogen in your body is depleted, that is when you start to feel fatigued in your muscles. That is why the longer you work out, the more you feel tired.
During the golden hour, it is when the body feels the brunt of the workout and that is when it looks for the depleted energy source to be replenished so that is can help repair the muscles.
And eating the right nutrients is the way for this to happen and for the repair to happen more quickly.
The easiest way would be a protein shake. It’s no-fuss preparation as most protein shakes are filled with protein and carbohydrates that help in the restoration of muscles. They are also very useful when you are trying to regain strength.
Yes, it’s an easy choice. but as we already know, easy does not always mean that it is the best option.
Look at it this way, you have exerted effort in working out, killed yourself at the gym and you don’t want to ruin all those time spent with bad nutrition. Because surely, you will see zero results if you do not eat the right food.
So what makes for a good meal?
Like all of my advice, GOOD QUALITY Nutrition not a chocolate bar or pizza.
Where possible aim for a meal with:
- X1-2 portions of protein
- X1 portion of carbs
- Half a plate of vegetables
One portion of meat will be as big as the palm of your hand.
Now that might sound REALLLLLYYYY boring…. But trust me if you try your best to be creative about your meal preparation, it could be really fun, too.
Here are some things you could eat after a workout to help repair those tired, worn-out muscles
Protein builds muscle and since exercise breaks down muscles, it is important to rebuild because as earlier explained, you need it for your regular, daily tasks.
An adequate amount of protein that should be taken right after a workout is .14-.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Studies have proven that taking an adequate amount of protein after a workout helps the body recover faster.
There are a lot of food sources that you can get protein from. There are animal sources like eggs, salmon, chicken and tuna. You may also have yogurt and cheese.
We have talked about the depletion of glycogen in the body after a workout causes muscle fatigue. Eating carbs helps replenish them.
Consume 0.5 – .7 grams of carbohydrates for every 1.1 kilograms of body weight.
Don’t forget that while we recommend these two, make sure that your choose the healthier options.
So what are these foods that we could eat after a workout?
For the carbohydrate group, you may eat a portion of vegetables such as dark green leafy veggies. You may also eat sweet potatoes or potatoes and fruits as well such as berries and bananas. You may also eat grains such as rice and quinoa and other forms of carbs.
Yes, there are so many things said against eating fats especially after a workout. They say fat slows down your metabolism and you lose the benefits of both. But there’s what you call the healthy fats will instead help promote muscle growth thus helping in the recovery. It also will not affect the production of glycogen in the body.
Of course, whether good or bad fats, it is always advisable to limit intake of fat. Some of the food that you can get good fats from and that you can eat minus all the guilt are avocados and nuts. And we all know nuts are delicious and nutritious after workout snacks.
Here are some snacks that you can easily whip up:
- Yogurt and berries
- Oatmeal smoothies with bananas and nuts
- Banana and peanutbutter
- peanut butter crackers.
Try these tips. They are easy and they are quick fixes meant to replenish what was lost.
Here are a few examples: –