With all the effort you are putting into your workouts, you want to make sure you follow them up with foods that will help you reach your goals. Your body will feel fatigue after a tough workout, and you can help combat that slump with food. Plunkett Fitness knows how difficult it can be to know just what to eat, so in this article, we will cover the importance of eating after a workout, what you should be eating, and when you should be eating it.
Benefits of Eating After a Workout
Eating the right nutrients after a workout can help your body increase muscle growth, decrease muscle breakdown, restore glycogen stores, and enhance recovery. Repairing damaged muscles after a workout can help them become stronger more quickly.
When you work out, your body gets energy from the food you ate prior to the workout and from your glycogen stores. By the time you finish your workout, these glycogen stores will be mostly used up, and your muscle protein level drops. This means that your muscles are starting to break down, undoing all of the work you did in the gym.
Since food also provides you with energy, eating after a workout can help boost your energy level—especially after any kind of endurance workout.
What Should You Eat After a Workout?
Eating after a workout is important, but don’t forget about water, too. Remember that after a workout, your body has lost a lot of water and electrolytes through sweat. Be sure to replenish fluids after your workout with either water or an electrolyte drink. Be cautious that any electrolyte drinks are also high in sugar.
When it comes to food, here are a few options that won’t ruin your workout.
Grilled Chicken and Vegetables
Grilled chicken provides your body with lean protein that will help fill you up without causing you to bloat. The nutrients provided by the vegetables will give your body some much-needed vitamins and minerals.
Chocolate milk has been a popular post-workout drink for some time now, and there is a good reason for that. This tasty drink from your childhood contains calcium, sodium, and sugar, all of which help your muscles recover quickly and retain water. Plus, the water in the milk will help rehydrate you after all the sweating.
Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit are all great additions to a post-workout trail mix. Create your own mix with whatever ingredients you like for a quick dose of protein and carbs to help your body recover after an intense workout.
Tuna Salad Sandwich
Tuna salad is full of protein and healthy fats, so it makes sense that this would be a great post-workout meal when combined with whole grain or whole wheat bread. For a fun twist, add avocado to your tuna salad. Avocado will also add healthy fats, plus it tastes great.
Green smoothies are packed full of nutrients that will help your body recover after a tough workout. You will want to be sure to include some spinach, apples, and bananas. Consider adding Greek yogurt for protein.
Apple and Cheese on Crackers
After a hard workout, you may not feel like making a big meal. Well, you can keep it simple with cheese and apple slices on crackers. Choose a healthy cracker option, and go crazy on your cheese selections. You can really get a lot of different flavors depending on the cheeses you select. If you need a quick punch of protein, add a little bit of sliced turkey.
The protein found in eggs will help your body refuel after a grueling workout. Add in spinach and other vegetables for a punch of nutrients that your body will appreciate.
Hummus and Pita
Hummus contains more protein than most people would expect, but the main ingredient, ground chickpeas, contains both carbohydrates and protein. Pita also contains complex carbohydrates that slowly release energy to your body. You could also dip veggie into the hummus if you don’t want additional carbs.
When Should You Eat After a Workout?
To benefit from a post-workout meal or snack, you should be eating something within the hour. During this window, your body is the most responsive to absorbing the carbohydrates and proteins that you consume. While your body is in this stage, you should eat healthy proteins and carbohydrates like those listed above.
If you are looking for an Overland Park personal trainer or group fitness programs, contact Plunkett Fitness today. A Plunkett Fitness personal trainer will put together a personalized fitness and nutrition plan for you, which will include post-workout snack and meal ideas. Call Plunkett Fitness at 913-390-3360 to set up a consultation.