As anyone who embraces a fit and healthy lifestyle knows, what you eat is just as important to your diet as working out. It’s not enough to simply run on the treadmill for 20 minutes, lift a few weights, and call it a day. Furthermore, it’s not just about portion size or eating foods considered traditionally healthy; you should also give consideration to when and what you’re eating after working out. Your nutrition should compliment your exercises or you could blow all of your hard work. So if you think you’re justified in rewarding yourself with a night of beer and burgers with our bodies after a hard workout…you may want to think again.
According to Healthline, a lot of people give more consideration to what they eat before working out than what they eat after. Consuming the right nutrients after a workout is just as important as what you put into your body before, however, especially since many people will choose to work out first thing in the morning before breakfast or after work before dinner.
There is what’s known as a post-workout window, which varies based on your specific goals for working out. This window exists because your body expends its stores of glycogen in the muscles during exercise, so you need to restore your supply after working out to prevent your muscles from becoming depleted or damaged. If your objective is to lose weight and nothing else, you can give yourself up to 45 minutes after exercising to fuel your body with the glycogen and protein your body needs to store energy. If you want to build muscle, though, you should be sure to have a meal high in carbohydrates and protein within 15 minutes of working out- aim for 30 grams of protein and 30-35 grams of carbs. Here are some of the best foods to eat after a workout that will give you the proper doses of carbs and protein.
If you’re trying to build up muscle, you’ll want to make sure that your body is getting just enough carbs after a workout, but not an overload. Some great options include fruit, whole grains (such as breads or cereals), quinoa, rice, potatoes, and pasta (in moderation). It’s important to choose easily digestible foods, which all of these are, for faster nutrient absorption.
Some people find it challenging to get enough protein in their diet, but a wide variety of foods are great sources of protein. Greek yogurt has twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt, as well as a healthy serving of carbohydrates. It’s also low in calories. Some other high-protein options include protein shakes or bars, eggs, tuna, chicken, salmon, and cottage cheese.
Fats are not as bad as they’re made out to be! A healthy serving of fats are actually necessary and beneficial. Just be careful not to overdo it and risk slowing down nutrient absorption. Some healthy fats include avocado, nut butters, and trail mix.
After taking all this into consideration, remember to stay hydrated as well. You lose water and electrolytes when you work out which your body needs to aid with recovery and performance.
Follow these tips and your exercise efforts will not be in vain- if you’re strict about maintaining a healthy diet with your exercise routine, you could even have a cheat day now and then- just so long as you vow to get back on track the next day!