What Should I Eat After I Workout?
A while back I wrote a post on if and what you should eat before you workout, have a read here. In short, it's usually a good idea to eat something before you workout, but what you eat will depend on your training goals, for more specifics have a read of the post.
So now we all know that it's a smart idea to eat to fuel our training, as we will be able to put more into it and will therefore get a lot more out of it. It is also a good idea to replenish our stores after a workout. Having a good recovery meal or snack will help restore energy reserves and rebuild damaged tissue, but can also promote building lean muscle mass and help enhance your exercise performance and recovery time.
When we exercise, our bodies are burning fuel, and afterwards our bodies want to replace this energy, and so can ramp up our appetite to do this. Straight after exercise, our appetites may be suppressed, but later in the day our hunger hormones will rise and our appetite increases. Hunger is our bodies way of letting us know it needs fuel, so it's important to learn to work with our hunger not against it. If you try to ignore your appetite and let yourself get too hungry, you will enter a meal starving and eat incredibly quickly and inevitably overeat and end up feeling really uncomfortable and overfull. We want to be proactive about our hunger, if you find yourself starving a few hours after a workout, perhaps you could add something small in before hand, maybe a piece of fruit, and then also add something in after.
What you eat will depend on the time of day you are training, your training goals, and how long/hard your workout was. If you have just done a small workout or some light cardio a piece of fruit or some veggie sticks with hummus might suffice. Aiming for minimally processed foods rich in fibre (eg. fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes) with a little protein, to help provide your body with the fuel it needs and to help to better manage your appetite.
What your recovery meal or snack should include:
Protein to help aid muscle recovery; carbohydrates to replace energy (glycogen) stores; fluids to replace those lost through sweating and breathing, and electrolytes lost through sweating.
What does a recovery meal or snack look like:
If you're training first thing in the morning, at lunch or after work, there's a good chance that your meal will naturally fall just after your gym sesh. This is beneficial if weight loss or weight maintenance are your goals. That means that you just need to make sure you're having a well balanced meal with the above essentials, and re-hydrating with some water or milk. If you are wanting to gain weight, or are training quite intensely, your food intake will likely have to be increased to reflect these goals.
2-3 eggs, scrambled with veggies (frozen peas and corn work well) on grainy toast
Smoked salmon with avocado on grainy toast
Rainbow salad bowl with tuna and a source of carbohydrates (eg. corn like in this bowl)
Chicken, beef or pork stir-fry with rice
Spaghetti bolognese with a salad
Gilled fish with potatoes/sweet potatoes and salad
Yoghurt with fruit and muesli
Tub of greek yoghurt
Piece of grainy toast with hummus
What are your favourite options for a recovery meal or snack?
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