You’ve got your workout routine, but what you eat immediately afterwards is just as important. Read The Best Foods To Eat After You Work Out!
Why You Should Eat Shortly After A Workout
Your workout isn’t over once you leave the weights and treadmill. Eating after you work out will determine how well your body recovers, how much muscle you build, and help you better prepare your body for the next round.
While you are exercising, the body uses up its stores of energy, and the muscle fibers become slightly torn from the strain that is put on them, especially when lifting heavy weights. Eating the right combination of foods is important to help the muscles repair and build.
Most people will work out 30 to 40 minutes, take breaks in between exercises, and occasionally talk to others. Which may not be high intensity exercise. So make sure you don’t eat too many processed foods for athletes, as they are designed for people who require high energy foods.
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The type of exercise will also determine what kind of foods you should be putting into your body immediately afterwards. For high endurance, or cardio type workouts that last an hour or more, you will need to consume more carbohydrates.
If you’re doing weightlifting, then you’ll need to consume much more protein than carbs. This will make sure you get the right amount of glycogen (energy) restoration, speed recovery, and reduce breakdown of the muscles.
So which foods are a good choice? You’ll want to get food that is broken down easily, so you can digest and absorb the nutrients quickly:
Protein Will Make Your Muscles Grow
We know that exercise helps the muscles grow by breaking down the tissue through resistance. Eating a good amount of protein will make sure the muscles will repair and rebuild the proteins.
Eating the right amount gives your body the nutrients it needs to help create new muscle tissue. Anywhere from 20-40 grams of protein is optimal for post workout recovery.
Carbs Bring Back The Energy
Energy is created by the body burning glycogen, which is stored for future use. Eating carbs give your body the ingredients it needs to produce glycogen. This is why we stated earlier that carbs are more important for endurance.
Add about a half a gram of carbs per each pound of body weight after a workout will make sure you give your body back its energy for the day.
When you combine carbs and protein after your workout it will help your body maximize its energy and muscle production. Aim for a ratio of 3 to 1, carbs to protein.
Fat Is Not The Enemy
Its a common misconception that eating fat will make it so the good nutrients do not get absorbed. It does in fact slow down your digestion, but it will not prevent you from getting the benefits of the food you eat after a workout.
This doesn’t mean you should load up on fatty food. It’s best to limit the fat intake, but don’t think its going to cause problems unless you overdo it.
Timing Is Important
The timing of when to eat your food is important, but don’t rush it either. You should eat something to feed your body anywhere between 30 minutes to a couple hours after you finish your workout (1). Ideally 45 minutes after your workout for best results.
The key to determining what to eat is based on how long you are exercising, and how intense the exercise is. Anything after two hours post workout will most likely result in significantly less energy and protein production.
- Whole Fruit
- Whole Grains (Quinoa, Whole Wheat etc.)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Green Veggies
- Whey Protein Powder