Does it take you too long to recover after a workout? Are your muscles sore all the time? If so, take a second look at your diet. What you eat after exercise influences your body’s ability to grow and recover. Post workout nutrition can help improve your athletic performance, speed up fat loss, and reduce muscle soreness. By choosing the right foods, you’ll recover faster and get the most out of your gym time.
What Is Post Training Nutrition?
Post training nutrition is critical for any man or women looking to make gains. It’s a consistent, individualized approach to fueling your body after exercise, helping it recover and reach its maximum potential. Its role is to increase protein synthesis, reduce protein breakdown, and replenish muscle and liver glycogen stores. When consumed post workout, certain foods can help improve body composition and repair the damage caused by training.
Your body uses protein, carbs, and fats differently at different times. By eating particular foods post exercise, you’ll get better gains in muscle size and strength. The key benefits of post training nutrition include:
- Improved muscle-to-fat ratio
- Improved bone mass
- Stronger immunity
- Muscle and strength gains
- Reduced muscle soreness
- Enhanced overall performance
- Quick recovery
- Greater energy
Ideally, you should have your post workout meal within 30-40 minutes after exercise. If you can’t eat right away, drink a protein shake and fast digesting carbs like fruit, dextrose, or honey. Those looking to build strength can use weight gainers after training. Protein helps repair damaged tissues and promote muscle growth. Carbs have the role to replenish your body’s energy stores. Endurance athletes may also opt for a sports drink to replace the fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat.
Eating for Recovery
Post workout nutrition should be a priority for those who don’t recover fast enough after training. It’s important to use supplements and foods that support muscle repair and boost the development of new tissue. If you find it hard to eat following a training session, choose whey protein and meal replacements.
Make sure you get enough protein and carbs depending on your activity. If your muscle glycogen stores are not replenished post workout, your next training session will be more challenging. Research indicates that as little as 10 grams of whey protein can stimulate muscle growth after exercise. Athletes with lactose intolerance can opt for hemp, soy, pea, or beef protein. If you wonder what to eat post workout, consider the following options:
- Chicken and white rice or sweet potatoes
- Turkey and green peas
- Fish and veggies
- Rice cakes with nut butter
- Protein bars
- Banana and whey protein
- Sugar free, high protein pancakes
- Greek yogurt and fruit
- Beef and squash
- Tuna and crackers
In general, liquid meals are a better choice for post workout recovery. Protein shakes, meal replacement drinks, and high-protein smoothies are quickly absorbed into the body, fueling your muscles into growth. About one hour later, you can have a regular meal. Whole foods, such as brown rice and whole pasta, take longer to digest, so they are not the best option after exercise.