You have smashed your Workout — done and dusted — so now you can reward yourself with your favorite foods, right? Well, not quite. Everything you eat after a workout must meet certain nutritional benchmarks. It is all about maximizing those gains, helping your muscles grow and repair, and decreasing fatigue.
“Shortly after exercise, the body is most effective at replacing carbohydrates and boosting muscle growth and repair,” Florida-based nutritionist and certified trainer McKenzie Flinchum, RD, tells. “Post-workout nutrition ought to be rich in carbohydrates to replenish muscle fuel stores, include lean protein to promote muscle repair, and include fluids and electrolytes to rehydrate effectively.” And in case you’ve got a fast turnaround time between training sessions, Flinchum says it is more important to consume carbs and protein to maximize your recovery.
Listed below are 7 meals that get the expert seal of acceptance as post-workout fuel.
“Eating protein-rich meals following a workout will help to build muscle, reduce recovery time, and improve stamina,” North Carolina-based nutritionist and Dish on Fish blogger Rima Kleiner, RD, informs. That’s because protein helps our brains comprehend the hormone leptin, which provides energy and helps us feel fuller for longer.
“Protein is a building block for every cell and tissue in our body,” Kleiner says. She recommends 3 ounces. Of cooked salmon fillet, which provides about 20 g of protein.
Eggs are another great source of protein — they are also packed with a range of vitamins (including B, D, and E), biotin, potassium, folic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids (in the yolk). Flinchum recommends preparing for 15 to 40 g of protein in your post-workout meal to promote muscle restoration. And don’t forget a healthy carb source, such as berries, rice, or oatmeal.
“You will likely reap the most benefits when you nosh on a combination of protein and carbohydrate to replenish those glycogen stores,” Kleiner says. Rice, potatoes, and oatmeal are all nutritious carb sources.
While it’s very important to replenish glycogen stores shortly after your workout, you don’t have to eat immediately post-workout to reap the benefits. In general, it’s a good idea to consume inside a 45-minute post-exercise window, Kleiner adds.
Florida-based fitness coach Tanya Etessam swears by black rice as the ultimate post-workout carbohydrate source. “It includes the same antioxidants that are found in antioxidants –without the sugar!” She tells me. “Additionally, it packs nearly twice the total amount of fiber in brown rice also helps lower cholesterol”
Aim for mainly whole foods on your post-workout meal, with a fantastic balance of healthy carbohydrates, healthy protein, and healthful fats, Freshen’ Lean consultant Randy Evans, RD, says. “The focus is on equilibrium because the wholesome carbs can revive our carbohydrate storage and supply vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but wholesome fats and proteins are essential for our bodies to work properly, and they also provide longer-lasting energy.”
Yogurt with fruit
Yogurt is the perfect post-workout snack because it boosts your protein consumption and additionally, it is a nutritious carb source. Adding fruit doesn’t only make it even more intriguing –fruit is beneficial post-workout because it contains simple carbohydrates, which can be consumed very fast, Flinchum states. “Your glucose levels drop during a workout, but fruit quickly raises them again,” she explains.
If you are wondering what fruit to choose, do not overthink it too much. “All fruit is pretty comparable about carbohydrate content and impact,” Flinchum says. “Berries tend to be lower calorie and reduced sugar than fruits like mango and pineapple, but so long as you are consuming an appropriate sum, proceed with your personal preference!”
Nuts and seeds
If you don’t have time for a cooked meal after your workout, you cannot go fail with a couple of nuts and seeds. Etessam recommends soaking nuts to break down gluten, reduce phytic acid, and also eliminate tannins. “This makes nuts easier to digest and increases absorption of vitamins,” she says. She also recommends chia seeds as an excellent source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Additionally, they help regulate insulin levels.
Smoothie with additional protein powder
A smoothie is another fast and easy post-workout snack you can prepare ahead of time. “A protein powder supplement is a very simple way to add protein to your smoothie,” Flinchum states. “Banana, oats, and yogurt are all nutritious carb sources”
Pack even more goodness into your smoothie by adding a handful of greens like spinach, which contains a huge amount of immunity-boosting vitamin A, iron, and antioxidants.
Water and electrolytes
In the end, don’t neglect to rehydrate! “Dehydration is really common after exercise, especially in hot environments,” Flinchum says. “Try to remain hydrated during your workout, however, also make sure that you increase fluid consumption following exercise”
And if you sweat a lot or notice any signs of dehydration, such as dizziness or fatigue, you may need to consume some electrolytes (sodium and potassium) also –this can be done through foods or sports drinks with additional electrolytes.