Everyone’s always saying that you’re supposed to eat a healthy meal after working out, but what does that meal actually include? Good post-workout nutrition can help improve your athletic performance and muscle mass, 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.
We have to understand that when it comes to training, you can’t just take you post-workout meal lightly. People will do all the work in the gym maybe even perfectly, but if they don’t recognize the necessary nutrition to go with their training regimen, their results will not be optimal.
People will spend all of their time focusing on what they’re supposed to train while dismissing what they’re supposed to eat – it simply doesn’t work like that! To be able to get to the bottom of this we need to look at what’s good and what’s bad regarding nutrition, including how to utilize it to get the best possible results in the gym.
What Is a Post-Workout Period?
Working out has a number of benefits, including improved health and better looks in the long run. Working out itself isn’t a positive thing (in the short term) for the body though, as it is perceived as a threat that weakens the body and puts the muscles through stress. The stress is at its peak right after you complete your workout.
Signs of this stress include needing extra sleep for recovery, an increased appetite and muscle soreness manifested through DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness).
These symptoms indicate that your body no longer has any reserves of energy in the muscles you’re trying to work, and there has been some minor damage to the muscle tissue. Also, this means that your muscles need to start a recovery process immediately, which would allow them to be repaired. Eventually, your immune system gets involved and starts fixing the problem.
During the repair or “rebuilding”, your damaged muscle adapts and improves as to be able to better handle the same level of stress in the future.
If you’re working on endurance training, the energy that your muscles had stored will be depleted and your muscles will sustain some damage in the short run. In the long run, the body will rebuild and fix itself into a more efficient aerobic machine.
If you’re training for strength and muscle mass, you want to destroy the weaker muscle fiber in order to create stronger, bigger fibers. This is the case with all types of workouts, and it’s a naturally known occurrence called “remodeling”.
If you don’t consume the necessary proteins and carbs, your body won’t be able to rebuild itself properly. Make sure you know that the time you invest in your training will return necessary results, only if you train smart and eat smart as well – so be sure to eat enough carbs and proteins!
What Is Post Workout Nutrition?
Post workout nutrition is probably one of the most important aspects of your nutrition as a whole. After the workout, it’s important to provide your muscles with the necessary rebuilding materials and energy.
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 30-60 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.
What to eat post workout ?
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 rice or potatoes
- Rice cakes with egg whites
- Protein bars
- Banana and whey protein
- High protein pancakes
- Low fat 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.
What About Nutrient Timing?
A post-workout meal will need to have a few very important things in there – proteins, carbs with as little fats as possible. You need essential fats during your entire day, but not right after working out, when the goal is to get macronutrients into your muscles as quickly as possible.
With too much fat or fiber in your post workout meal, you won’t get the full benefits of the meal itself. Fat slows down the movement through the intestines, which means that when you eat fat right after you work out, you’ll slow your system’s digestion and the absorption of carbs and protein will be slowed down as well.
Supplements or Whole Foods?
Sometimes, it’s better to take a supplement instead of eating whole foods. I know it sounds ludicrous, but it’s the truth. When you’re working on your post-workout nutrition, the fact that the protein shake is liquid means that it will do a far better job than any solid whole food. Here’s why:
- After working out, you’ll hear many people say that they can’t stomach eating a large meal. This is because the training stresses your body to a point where your instinct for hunger is pretty much dead, but I can’t stress how important it is to eat if you want to keep your muscle structure ready to heal at all times. Eating right after working out will help your muscles remodel, but it will also help them recuperate and make them bigger.
- Liquid supplements are easy to drink, they’re full of nutrients and they’re relatively delicious. They’ll give you all you need right after training, and they’re relatively simple on the molecular level which means your intestines will process them with ease.
- Liquid supplements that have fast-digesting protein such as whey hydrolysates and isolates, as well quickly-digesting carbs like dextrose and maltodextrin have a faster rate of absorption than whole food meals, which is another advantage for supplements.
- If you take a liquid post-workout shake it’ll be in your system in half an hour to an hour, which means your muscles will get all they need in a very short time. If you eat a solid meal, you might need a few hours for the nutrients to reach your muscles.
You need the protein and carbs to reach your muscles as soon as possible to improve your chances of recovery and muscle tissue synthesis. There are some nutrients that improve your recovery period when you eat them right after your workout.
This type of nutrition will have a lot of water as well as high-glycemic index carbs and amino acids in certain ratios that your system deems healthy. Also, you should definitely steer clear of any fat in the post-workout period. The best way to make sure these nutrients are in your system is through a liquid blend of your make and choosing.