Nutrition 101: Best Post-Workout Meals for Better Results

Neglecting a post-workout meal is one of the biggest mistakes people (unconsciously) tend to make. As much as it sounds counter-productive, eating after a workout is a ‘must do’ in order to stay fit (or lose weight) and improve muscle tone. Skipping meals after a workout can lead to slowing the progress and can keep you from achieving the fit and lean figure you want and work hard for.

The importance of post-workout meals

 

Why does that happen? Well, when you workout, your body receives fuel from muscles as glycogen (that is stored in them) and spends it. Obviously, after the training, your glycogen stores are depleted and need to be restored so that your body has enough energy for the next workout.

Also, if you do a lot of strength exercises, you should ensure more protein intake since it is essential in muscle reparation process. Strength training causes microdamage to your muscles which forces them to repair themselves in order to become stronger than before and they need protein for the process.

That is why you mustn’t skip post-workout meals because they contain the ingredients that are necessary for your body and help you become stronger. If you’re not giving your body what it needs after exercising, you won’t see the results you want. Remember, after a workout, your body needs protein and carbohydrates to build muscles and refuel glycogen (energy).

A perfect combination of protein and carbohydrates

 

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you should just grab a huge plate of pasta right after your workout. The amount of protein and carbohydrates you should intake depends on your body’s needs, on your goals or even on the intensity of your workouts. If you really want to improve your performance and get better results you should intake a perfect combination of lean protein and carbohydrates with your post-workout meal. Here are some ideas you can take inspiration from for your after exercising meal.

These foods will help you maximize exercise benefits, speed up recovery and muscle reparation, and help maintain lean muscles while helping you lose weight.

Mighty foods

 

Nutritionists advise that in order to get the best results you should ensure the right amount of protein for your body size and the activity level. Whey protein shake is an option that most athletes opt for since it is fast releasing, easily absorbed and rich in amino acids.

Mix a half of a banana, one scoop of whey protein powder (your favorite flavor), and half the cup of almond milk with just a tiny bit of hemp seeds. You will love the flavor and what it does for your body for sure!

If you feel like you need something lighter you can also make a salad meal with roasted chickpeas and just a hint of vinegar and olive oil. A perfectly light, after workout meal that will make you feel full and energized.

Mix non-GMO tofu (about a half of a cup) with steamed vegetables and make the perfect vegan and vegetarian approved meal that will not make you feel bloated or sit on your stomach. You can also mix a cup of quinoa with blackberries and pecans if you need something a bit sweeter for the post-workout meal.

Another quick, low-calorie snack great for after workout snack is pairing cottage cheese with fresh fruits. Plus, the best part is that you can prepare it before and eat it on the way back after a workout session. Cottage cheese contains lean protein and the fruits provide carbohydrates which is exactly what your body needs.

Adding a sprinkle of protein powder will give you an extra boost and you can play with different flavors to make sure you are actually enjoying your snack. Try mixing cottage cheese with bananas and add a spoonful of chocolate protein powder. You are simply going to love the flavor!

Do your homework

 

Do research about various foods and the ingredients they contain, find the things you like and make a list of great protein and carbohydrates sources so that you know what you can mix and match. There is no reason not to enjoy the after workout snacks, you can experiment with many different flavors and aromas. Now that you are aware of the importance and benefits, there’s nothing stopping you in becoming a gourmand!

Helen Bradford, Associate Editor

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