You’re done with your workout and now it’s time to eat. Remember – this is an essential time to replenish the nutrients lost during your workout. What do you reach for? If you don’t know, you’ve come to the right place! Finding the best post-workout meal/snack shouldn’t be difficult. All you need to know is the importance of fueling up immediately after and what are the best foods to be consumed.
Immediately after a workout (within 15 minutes to a hour), it is incredibly to fuel your body with good sources of protein and carbohydrates. The reason for this is because during a workout, our muscles use glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrate) as fuel and “some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down and damaged.” Consuming your post-workout as soon as you can after your workout allows for your muscles to “replenish the glycogen they just lost through training and helps your tired muscles rebuild and repair with the available and amino acids.” The difference between what your body uses protein and carbohydrates after your workout are the following: protein helps rebuild and repair muscles while carbohydrates are considered the fuel.
Fueling your body timely and correctly helps increase muscle protein synthesis, restore glycogen stores, as well as enhance recovery. This is best accomplished by consuming fast-digesting protein and fast-digesting carbohydrates. Although you can reach for a whole-food meal, it can take time to prepare and it may take a bit longer for your body to digest. Some of the best quick post-workout foods include the following:
- Protein powder
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Eggs (if you aren’t vegan/vegetarian)
- Fruit (bananas, grapes, dates, pineapple, berries)
- Bread (white, wheat, etc.)
- Rice cakes
Some of my go-to combinations include a protein shake with fruit or Greek yogurt with fruit. These combinations are simple, easy to make, and will fuel your body with all the right nutrients. Fuel up with the right foods and your body will take care of the rest! Leave a comment below with your favorite post-workout meals/snacks! What are your go-to’s?