What to Eat After Working Out

What to Eat After Working Out

Ask any serious bodybuilder and they’ll tell you there’s a lot that goes into your workout to help you achieve your goals. You’ve probably heard just how important a pre-workout meal is. But did you know that what you eat after your workout is just as important?

A few years ago, when I first started going to Gold’s Gym I didn’t know a thing about exercise nutrition. This lack of knowledge made a negative impact on my gains (or rather, the lack of it). Consuming the right nutrients after exercise results in:

  • Reduced muscle protein breakdown
  • Higher muscle growth (increased protein synthesis in the muscle)
  • Enhanced muscle recovery
  • Restoration of glycogen stores

To understand just how important post-workout meals are, let’s take a closer look at how physical activity impacts the body.

During a workout, the muscles utilize glycogen as fuel particularly during high intensity activities. So as a result, the glycogen stores in the muscles become partially depleted. Once your workout has ended, your body will start to rebuild glycogen stores. At the same time, it will begin to repair or replace the muscle proteins that have been damaged or broken during exercise.

In order for the body to do this, you need to eat foods rich in protein and carbs.

Here are some examples of foods that can be quickly absorbed by the body and speed up recovery after your workout:

1. Eggs

Consuming whole eggs lead to better protein synthesis. The yolk in particular has been found effective in stimulating the muscles to promote growth and repair.

2. Dairy

Even 9g of milk protein is sufficient to stimulate protein synthesis for improved recovery. You can also consume ricotta cheese, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt in lieu of milk.

3. Sweet potatoes, quinoa, pasta and other carb-rich foods

Carbohydrates are an essential part of your post-workout meal especially those doing strength training. These foods are also rich in fiber and have low glycemic index making it a good choice for those who want to keep their blood sugar in check.

4. Healthy fats

Although many people would argue against consuming fatty foods after a workout, a little of it couldn’t possibly hurt. One study found that consuming whole milk than skim milk was more effective at promoting muscle growth. A separate study also found that a high fat meal does not affect muscle glycogen synthesis. Examples of foods rich in healthy fats are avocado, nuts and nut butter.

5. Water

People often neglect to drink sufficient amounts of water before, during and after working out. Proper hydration ensures your body has the best internal environment to boost results.

Because you sweat during exercise, your body loses water and electrolytes which is why it’s a must to replenish it after your workout. Water or an electrolyte drink are great for replenishing lost fluids.

Final Thoughts

Getting proper nutrition after your workout is necessary in order to restore energy levels, aid in the repair and recovery of muscles and reduce fatigue. The right balance of protein, carbs and healthy fats can ensure proper recovery so you can achieve optimum performance and get the results you want.

Here’s a video on how to eat to build muscle and burn fat:

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