It's over. You gave 100% to your workout! Now, you're STARVING! But what does your body need?
After a workout, it's important to refuel with the right foods to keep muscles strong and healthy. Finding the right foods can be a challenge when you feel like you could inhale everything in your fridge. After your workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair/regrow those muscle proteins. Eating the right nutrients help your body to get this done.
Within 15 to 20 minutes of an intense workout, it’s important to replenish your reserves and take in carbohydrates and protein. By consuming particular nutrients after your workouts (AKA nutrition), you improve your body composition, performance, and overall recovery. You need to replenish the glycogen (the energy reserves) from carbs while your muscles need to decrease protein breakdown, increase protein synthesis, and enhance recovery. It’s also important to reload the fluids lost.
Bottom line: Getting the right nutrients after exercise can help you rebuild your muscle proteins and glycogen stores. It also helps stimulate growth of new muscles.
There are many options when it comes to post-workout foods.
Here are my top favorite 4 foods for after workout fuel!
1. Homemade Smoothie
Smoothie with coconut water, protein powder, hemp seeds, berries, and kale. After an intense workout, I know with a smoothie I'm getting the protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats(hemp seeds) I need to recover and refuel. I'm also getting antioxidants and fiber from the berries and kale to alleviate muscle damage and fluid (coconut water) to re-hydrate.
2. Scrambled eggs with avocado and roasted sweet potato
For a long run (more than an hour of cardio), I usually have something with a mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. I love that eggs are easy to cook, have protein, and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Not to mention that the avocado is loaded with healthy fats and fiber to keep me full after a long workout and the sweet potatoes replace carbs I used up during my sweat session.
3. Lentils and Bulgar wheat
Lentils and the Bulgar wheat (my FAV) combo provides a unique combo of plant protein, vitamin, minerals, and fiber-rich carbs, and antioxidants, so they're a perfect fit for recovering from the wear and tear a workout puts on the body.
4. Whole milk yogurt with berries
Yogurt is a win-win as a post-workout snack, both for its nutritional package and its convenience. It naturally contains carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat the nutrients needed to replenish fuel stores and repair muscle tissue. Also, a great source of calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus—nutrients that work together to promote bone health. All that nutrition wrapped up into one small container that you can take on the go. The berries add a punch of antioxidants are fiber rich.
When you start thinking about food as fuel, rather than ease the pain of a bad day, your body will start to prefer those foods that offer the best nutritional bang for your buck. After your next workout or tough run, keep these ideas in mind and give your body what it really needs!
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