Do you ever wonder what you should eat as a post-workout meal or snack? This can be a tricky one for those who are only just starting to exercise.
Ideally, healthy post-workout food should have the necessary macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) to replenish our body’s energy and assist in muscle rebuild & repair.
Just as important as the pre-workout meal, which serves to guarantee a good source of energy for workouts, eating right after physical activities is essential for your progress at the gym and beyond.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of tips and best practices to follow according to LIVE! nutritionist Jennifer Garcia. Read on and learn more!
Why should I eat right after exercising?
You may have experienced fatigue or felt sleepy after workouts in the past? This is a natural response from the body following an intense workout.
Therefore, post-workout nutrition plays an extremely important role in replenishing energy and nutrients that were absorbed during workouts.
According to Jennifer, replenishing your body with the right foods comes with several benefits. “We achieve better muscle recovery, decreased fatigue, increased muscle gain and improved performance in future workouts”, she explains.
What to eat after workouts?
The benefits of post-workout nourishment are dependent on your food choices. It’s important to avoid grabbing the first thing you see and instead choose the ideal food for you, which may vary according to the type, intensity and duration of your workouts.
For this reason, we recommend you seek a nutritionist; someone who can prepare a customized meal plan that is suited for your fitness goals.
But, there are also a few (tried and tested) guidelines that, broadly speaking, work for everyone to better learn and understand what to prioritize when choosing what to eat. “In general, a post-workout meal should be a combination of protein and carbohydrates,” says Garcia.
These macronutrients play a key role in our bodies, especially when it comes to intense physical activity:
. Proteins: are fundamental for post-workout muscle repair and tissue rebuilding.
. Carbohydrates: are responsible for replacing energy after workouts.
There are a variety of well-known sources of healthy carbohydrates and plenty of lesser known options as well. What is best to consume and at what time of day will depend on your training schedule.
Check out a list of recommendations for post-workout nutrition that can be easily incorporated into your day-to-day routine, offered by LIVE! nutritionist, Garcia:
Here are a few healthy carbohydrate-rich options:
. sweet potato;
. manioc or yucca;
. whole wheat bread and
. fruits such as bananas and mangoes and oranges.
Here are some protein-rich suggestions:
. lean meats such as chicken or fish;
. vegetables such as beans, chickpeas and lentils and
. fast-acting supplements like whey protein that are quickly absorbed by the body.
It’s worth noting that these foods can be combined in a single meal. According to Garcia, consuming a combination of protein and carbohydrates increases the absorption and action of these two nutrients.
How long after training should I eat?
Now that you have a better idea of what types of foods are good for you, knowing when to eat after workouts is essential to ensure you receive all benefits from nourishment.
On this topic, Garcia assures us that there’s no need to rush. “The post-workout window of opportunity lasts for about 24 hours.” For this reason, she emphasizes that all meals ingested throughout the day after are important and should be chosen carefully to replenish nutrients.
Additionally, our organisms have an absorption process, meaning that consuming all of the most important nutrients in one go can overload our bodies. So, take your time and ration them out throughout your daily meals.
Our nutritionist emphasizes the importance of consuming one particular macronutrient at a specific set time. “It’s beneficial to eat a healthy source of protein within the first 2 hours after working out”, she suggests.
Did you enjoy these tips on what to eat after training? Now, step into action and prepare your post-workout meals in a more conscious manner! This will boost your fitness results, help you achieve your fitness goals and improve overall body function as a whole.
And remember, a physical activities + balanced diet combo guarantees muscle mass gain. It’s a win-win!