If you are serious about working out, you probably have defined goals. Maybe you are looking to lose weight, build muscle, or get in shape to run a 5K. Whatever your goals, it is important that you make sure that you are giving your body the nutrition that it needs to operate at its best. Supplements can help with this, but a good diet with healthy choices both before and after your workouts is the key to healthy living.
Most people know what they should and should not eat before a workout, but very few people pay as much attention to their post workout meal. Exercise depletes the body’s glycogen stores, meaning that you will need to replenish these stores to keep your muscles operating at their best. Your post workout snack will also help your body repair any muscle damage that occurred during your workout.
What to Eat After a Workout
A snack or meal with a combination of protein and carbs is the best for repairing muscle damage and replenishing glycogen stores. Consuming a high protein snack or meal can help to decrease the breakdown of muscle proteins, helping you to recover more quickly from intense workouts. It can also increase the formation of new muscle fibers, which in turn will make you you stronger and encourage muscle growth.
Most experts suggest that you consume around 0.2 grams of protein for each pound of body weight. This will ensure that your body has everything that it needs to repair your muscles and get you ready for your next workout. A high protein snack, one with 20 or more grams of protein, has been proven to maximize your body’s recovery rate.
Carbohydrates are another key component of any post workout snack. While many people avoid carbs while they are dieting, it is important to understand that not all carbs are created equal. Whole grains and other high fiber foods such as oatmeal can be good options for the carb portion of your snack while things like white bread and fried foods can do more harm than good. Another example of a healthy food that is filled with carbs is fresh fruit. While you do need to watch your fruit intake due to its high sugar content, the fiber found in whole fruit can help to slow down its digestion, mitigating the effects of the fruit’s natural sugar content. In general, you should opt for natural carbs that are high in fiber and avoid highly processed foods that are full of empty calories.
While carbs are important for all post workout snacks, some types of athletes will require more carbs than others. If you are engaging in high endurance activities such as running or swimming, you will need to eat more carbs than someone that only lifts weights. Weight lifters and bodybuilders should opt for higher protein snacks while runners should eat a few extra carbohydrates in order to rebuild their muscles’ glycogen stores. Most people will need to eat 1 gram of carbohydrates for every 2 pounds of body weight. This will ensure that your body is able to synthesize glycogen at its maximum rate.
10 Post Workout Snacks
What you eat after your workout is every bit as important as what you eat before your workout, so keep these foods in mind when planning your post workout snacks this week.
Post Workout Snack #1: Hummus and Pita Bread
Post Workout Snack #2: Rice Crackers and Peanut Butter
Post Workout Snack #3: Almond Butter on Wheat Toast
Post Workout Snack #4: Cereal with Milk
Post Workout Snack #5: Toast with Avocado and an Egg
Post Workout Snack #6: Cottage Cheese with Fruit
Post Workout Snack #7: Oatmeal with a Banana, Almonds, and Protein Powder
Post Workout Snack #8: Greek Yogurt Parfait
Post Workout Snack #9: Crackers and Tuna
Post Workout Snack #10: A Protein Shake with a Banana
While these are all good options for your post workout snack, you can mix and match sources of protein and healthy carbs in order to create a tasty snack that will help your body recover from your workout as quickly as possible.
In addition to consuming plenty of protein and carbs, it is important that you make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Water will help your body recover from your workout in addition to helping with other key biological processes. To learn more about taking care of your body and minimizing your recovery time, browse our website and check out our other blog posts.