Having a workout routine is excellent for your health, but for it to be 100% effective, it is important to choose the correct meal when you're done!
In order for you to build muscle, your body needs to repair and replenish its glycogen stores after you're finished working out. The post-workout meal is essential to get the proper nutrients for your body to do this.
Repair and Regrow
Protein is what your body uses when you need to repair your muscles. When you work out, muscle protein is broken down - so this recovery is very important. The amino acids in protein are the building blocks for muscle repair and development.
Some of the best sources of protein for your post-workout meals:
- Animal- or plant-based protein powder
- Greek yogurt
Glycogen is what your body uses as fuel to power you during your workout, so it makes sense that these need to be replenished. Carbohydrates are the key, and the more frequent you exercise, the more fuel you need.
The best source of Carbohydrates for your post-workout meal:
- Sweet potatoes
- Fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi)
- Dark, leafy green vegetables
The hardest thing for people following their workout is the motivation to jump into cooking, so a great and easy alternative to a full meal are shakes. They can be as simple as taking some protein powder (animal or plant), and combining it with any of the foods from the lists above.
When you combine both proteins and carbohydrates, you actually stimulate the way your body processes them, so they are better if eaten together.
water, water, water
The last thing to remember is to hydrate. People often drink water while they are working out, but it is incredibly important to continue to drink water after. Getting at least 2 or 3 glasses following your workout is ideal.
Remember, your post-workout meal is what takes your exercising to the next level. As a final piece of advice, try to eat within 30 minutes of your workout for the best results.