Last time we met, we discussed the importance of fueling your workouts with the right foods. If you missed that discussion, you can check it out here. Today I want to follow up that post with some information on post-workout fueling, which is equally, if not more, important than the pre-workout.
The “Golden Hour”
After you’ve busted your butt during your workout, your body is starving for nutrients to rebuild and repair the muscles that you have just broken down. In order to recover properly, replenish energy stores, and to build strength for your following workout, you need to eat the right foods. Doing so within an hour of finishing your workout will give you the most benefit from your meal or snack. This is the “golden hour” where your body is ready to absorb the nutrients it needs.
What to eat
Most importantly your body needs a fresh supply of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are necessary for the production of muscle, hormones, neurotransmitters, bones, and the proper functioning of your body. Since you have just depleted most of your critical amino acids, namely glutamine, valine, isoleucine, and leucine, it’s imperative that you restore them by consuming protein post-workout. This will also help prevent your body from breaking down muscle to use it for energy. There are often conflicting opinions on how much protein is actually needed during recovery, however, it’s safe to say that 20-30 grams is sufficient in order to gain strength and rebuild muscle, especially for intense workouts.
Another important aspect of your post-workout meal is making sure to get the carbohydrates your body needs. Glycogen, the storage form of sugar, is your body’s main source of energy during workouts. So, in order to replenish your depleted glycogen stores, consuming some slow-burning carbs are your best best. Items such as brown rice, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, and other whole grains are perfect for restoring your energy sources.
Post Workout Meal and Snack Ideas:
*Brown rice and veggies with chicken, turkey, fish, or tofu
*Protein shake (find a quality whey or soy protein powder and combine with water or milk) and a banana
*Peanut butter whole grain toast
*Quinoa, veggies, and a lean protein
*Trail mix (dried fruit, nuts, seeds)
*Eggs and whole grain toast
*Brown rice cakes with nut butter
*Protein or energy bar
Either way, make sure to get something into your system after a hard workout. Hope this information helps!
What is your favorite post-workout meal?