Eating after a workout is just as if not more important than eating before a workout. This is especially true if you are lifting weights and trying to put on muscle.
However this is also important if you are working out for weight loss as you want to lose your fat not your muscle. Your muscle is what gives you a nice toned look and on top of that muscle mass burns calories even whilst resting.
What Happens To Your Muscles While Working Out
So what you need to include in your post workout meal :
#Protein to help repair muscles and stimulate muscle growth
#Carbs to replenish glycogen stores and to help convert protein into muscle
#Water to help get rid of lactic acid and to keep hydrated post workout
#Healthy fats but not too much
#Fruit and vegetables to help with lactic build up
You always see bodybuilders with their protein shakes, a healthier option is to just consume high protein foods as protein shakes are full of sugar and other nasty additives.
Lean chicken and eggs are your best sources of protein, if you are vegan or vegetarian then I would recommend Quinoa, hemp seed powder or brown rice protein powder (you will need to make a shake/smoothie). I suggest you avoid soy proteins as they are all mostly GMO’s and highly processed soy is believed to have estrogen mimicking effects. (3, 4)
How much protein you need depends on the individual but I have found that 1 gram of protein to 2 grams of carbohydrates works well.
Carbohydrates are equally important as protein, your body needs energy to convert protein to muscle this is both for repair and growth. Also you have just burned a lot of energy so you you need to replenish that to get you through the day and stop you from feeling so hungry.
How much carbohydrates you should be consuming depends on what type of training you are doing, generally you should eat until you feel satisfied (not bloated). Another way of doing it is this formula; Consume 0.5–0.7 grams of carbs per 1.1–1.5 kg of body weight. This should be done within 30 minutes after training (1).
This is not so much important for post workout recovery but more part of a healthy diet. So this is not quite as important as the protein and carbs but not something you should overlook either.
Healthy fats are the way to go AKA essential fatty acids, these are what make up the cell wall which is responsible for letting in nutrients and keeping out toxins.
Add some avocados to your meal, or some fatty fish – also good source of protein, green leafy vegetables contain essential fatty acids and help reduce lactic acid as well as helping with digestion etc. Nuts and seeds are also a great source of healthy fats.
Fruit And Vegetables
Fruit is better for preworkout but also a great addition to your post workout smoothie – I suggest making your own post workout smoothies as store bought protein powders have lots of harmful additives. Add some berries and or banana to your post workout smoothie. The antioxidants aid in recovery.
Vegetables should be included with every meal not just post workout, they are great source of micronutrients which aid in recovery and are just all round good for your health.
Fiber also plays an important role in digestion, vegetables help absorb nutrients form the rest of your meal as well.
Some combinations I go for would be:
#Chicken, sweet potato and avocado.
#Fatty fish, quinoa and roast vegetable salad topped with nuts.
#Omelete, rice and garden salad.
For carbs I would add fruit eg bananas, berries mango etc.
For protein I would use a nut butter, or hemp seed protein powder (best) or brown rice protein powder.
For greens, you can skip this if using hemp seed powder, or you could possibly use kale, spinach, avocado etc.
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