Studies show that eating after your workout, "stimulates muscle protein synthesis, improves recovery, and enhances performance during your next workout." Meaning the benefits aren't just for athletes but for EVERYONE!
Let me point out that we can't out work a bad diet but we also don't need to reward ourselves for working out with sugary treats & drinks, processed foods & high caloric meals. In fact, what you eat after your meal is just as important as all your other meals.
Simply put, an intense doesn't circumvent the negative effects of a crappy diet even if you eat said "crappy food" right after a killer workout!
One thing you should know is the body craves high-quality protein and carbohydrates after a good workout, not Chick-Fil-A meal or Starbucks Drink with Sugar Free Syrup!
Protein post workout will help repair tired muscles, meanwhile our complex carbohydrates replenish all the energy we used up in the gym.
During each workout our body uses glycogen our preferred energy source. And after our workouts our bodies rebuild glycogen stores and regrows those muscle proteins. Eating the right nutrient dense whole foods after your workout can help your body get this done faster. This is why it's extremely important to eat carbs and protein after your workout.
Doing this helps your body:
decrease muscle protein breakdown
increase muscle protein synthesis (growth)
restore glycogen stores
Talk to 100 Trainers/Coaches and you'll here 100 different methods, and I usully prefer to customize calories & macros but you can consume your post workout protein and carbohydrates in a 1:3 ratio.
1 gram of protein for every 3 grams of carbohydrates
Chickpeas fit almost perfectly into the mold of the 1:3 protein-to-carb ratio. With 6 grams of protein for every 20 grams of carbs, they make an ideal food to eat after a workout. But eating chickpeas straight out of the can isn’t all that appealing, so opt for the roasted, crunchy kind to satisfy your snack craving.
Fiber Packed Oatmeal
A cold winter workout calls for a steaming hot bowl of recovery oats. If you haven’t had good old-fashioned oatmeal in a while, you’re missing out on the whole grain goodness that includes protein to repair worn down muscles and fiber to fill up your empty stomach.
A ½ cup serving of oats has about 27 grams of carbs, 5 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber. As an added bonus, oats contain a fiber called beta-glucan, which helps to lower cholesterol, according to research.
Try it: To amp up the protein even more, make oats with protein powder and top with your favorite seasonal fruit, like pears, apples, berries, or citrus for an antioxidant boost.
Eggs are nutritious on their own, but pairing them with veggies creates a powerhouse recovery snack. The combination of 6 grams of protein in each egg and carbs from the veggies is ideal. Eggs contain fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins D, E, and A, choline for your brain, and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin for your eye health.
Try it: This simple frittata recipe allows your to be as creative as you like, add zuchhini, Swiss chard, onion, and lots of savory mushrooms. Stick to your favorite veggies to keep it meat-free or add in some ham steak for a boost in protein.
Smoothies may sound basic, but they’re popular for a reason. Throwing fruit and yogurt in a blender is about as simple as it gets, and it tastes pretty darn good. Arguably the best part about a smoothie is that you can customize it to your tastes.
Regardless of the recipe you use, stick with 2 parts fruit (carbs) to 1 part milk or yogurt (protein) and keep the sweeteners to a minimum. Don’t be afraid to throw in some protein powder, nuts, seeds, or greens for added protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Fish is a high-quality protein, but it’s not always easy to whip up a fillet of salmon after a workout. You can still reap the benefits with canned tuna on whole grain crackers. A 4.5-ounce can has about 18 grams of protein, and a serving of crackers typically packs 20 to 30 grams of carbs. Pair them together for a midday post-workout snack that will keep you full and satisfied.
Try it: If canned tuna isn’t your thing, look for Chicken of the Sea, Infusion Cups Pair with a cracker that has “whole wheat” or “whole grain” as the first ingredient, like Wasa. Be mindful of the simple carbs and sugars in most popular cracker brands.
Nuts & Seeds
Although nuts don’t fit the classic post-workout snack profile, they do offer another important nutrient: healthy fats. The body utilizes fat as a main fuel-source during low-intensity workouts, like yoga and Pilates.
Try it: Choose whatever nut suits your fancy as a grab-and-go snack. If you want to take it up a notch, make these nut-filled Healthy Butterfinger Bars or Healthy PB Cups ahead of time for a post-workout snack. Pair you healthy fats with a protein shake!
This easy Salmon and Cauliflower Rice (or regular rice) has everything you want post-workout: plenty of complete protein from the salmon, fiber-rich cauliflower, lots of nutrient-dense herbs and spices, and quality fat from avocado oil. Salmon is also an exceptional source of omega-3s that will help minimize joint inflammation after exercise. If you want to keep it low-carb, stick with the cauliflower rice. To refill your glycogen stores as quickly as possible post-workout, swap the cauliflower rice for organic white rice.
This post-workout meal of lean protein meatballs and sweet potato noodles feeds your muscles and your joints. It combines a complete protein source with a nutrient-dense carbohydrate that will replenish depleted glycogen stores. Full of flavor, quality fats and protein, this Thai-style dish is a delicious way to jumpstart the post-workout recovery process.
Packed with the burger flavors we love this post-workout meal fits the bill perfectly. It has high-quality protein to support muscle growth and repair, and plenty of slower-burning fat for sustained energy while you sweat.