Exercising regularly (and properly) is only half the battle when it comes to fitness – the other half is nutrition. While it’s important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet overall, it’s especially important to get the right kind of foods in your system after a workout. Your body has just been placed under strain and it needs nutrients to rest and repair itself.
In this article, we’ll look at what you should be doing after a workout, food-wise.
Is it good to eat after a workout? This is a pretty common question – and the answer is yes, eating after a workout is extremely beneficial for your body. Let’s take a look at why..
When you exercise, your body uses up its glucose stores to provide your muscles with energy. After a workout, your blood sugar levels will be pretty low, so it’s a good idea to eat something and replenish that level!
Your muscles also require nutrients after a workout. Here’s a fun fact: the soreness in your muscles after a workout is due to tons of micro-tears in the tissue that are healing. But you can speed up the healing process, all you have to do is eat the right kinds of foods. We’ll talk about that in more detail below.
You should aim to eat within an hour after your workout. Your metabolism is still elevated from your workout for a whole hour after finishing up, so the food you eat in that time will be digested faster and less likely to be stored as fat. Even if you can’t sneak a meal in that amount of time, try to eat a post workout snack to give your body the nutrients and energy it needs.
After a workout, you’re going to want to load up on carbs (to restore your blood sugar level) and protein (to repair your muscles). Examples of these foods include eggs, quinoa, bananas, salmon, blueberries, peanut butter, pita bread with hummus, pineapples, sweet potatoes, yogurt and kiwi fruits.
You can eat these foods on their own, or you can incorporate them into the yummy recipes we’ve listed below!
As mentioned above, you should aim to eat within 1 hour of working out. However, sometimes we’re on a tight schedule and we just can’t fit a whole meal in that amount of time. If you find yourself in that situation, opt for a healthy after workout snack instead! We’ve listed our favorites below.
Almonds – much like most nuts – are chock full of proteins and healthy fats. Plus, they curb appetite, making them the best post workout snack for weight loss. Oranges supplement this snack with carbs and healthy vitamins.
The best part about this snack is its portability – toss it in your gym bag and snack on it while you’re on your way to your next appointment!
Eating peanut butter after a workout is extremely beneficial to your body – peanut butter is full of proteins and carbs! It’s one of the best post workout snacks there are. Spread it thickly on a couple slices of bread, place that in a Ziploc bag, toss it in with your gym stuff and you’re good to go.
If you have a little extra time, sprinkle some blueberries over a cup of Greek yogurt and have that as your post workout snack. Eating yogurt after a workout will give your body the proteins it needs to repair your muscles, and blueberries are full of vitamins.
Eating a banana after a workout is extremely healthy, as long as you only eat one. Bananas are pretty high in sugar, so while one banana will help restore your blood sugar levels (and provide your body with a healthy supply of Vitamin K), eating more than that is a little excessive.
If you find you have a little extra time after your workout, it’s a good idea to eat a delicious, healthy meal. You can pick and choose from any of our yummy recipes below!
This makes the perfect after workout meal for breakfast – so to all the lazy people out there, go for a jog in the morning so you have a reason to eat this! The fried eggs provide the best post workout protein source and the black beans add carbohydrates that are rich in fiber. You can even add some chopped bell peppers into the mix to get your daily dose of Vitamin C!
All you have to do is fry two eggs and eat them with a side of cooked black beans.
If you get extremely hungry after a workout, this meal is perfect for you. Simply cook 8 ounces of lean beef until done as well as one butternut squash until soft, then mix them together in a pan. Add roughly 4 ounces of marinara sauce for flavor.
The beef in this meal contributes a ton of protein to help repair your muscles. Butternut squash, on the other hand, is extremely starchy and will help curb your appetite so you don’t overeat and lose all the progress you made at the gym!
Cook about 8 ounces of chicken breast, dice it and add it to a pan with olive oil. Then, dice ½ a cup of sweet potato and ½ a cup of apples. Add those to the pan too, and mix them all together. Sprinkle a tiny bit of cinnamon powder over your meal to add extra flavor.
Chicken breast is an excellent source of protein and sweet potato is full of carbohydrates. Apples are full of healthy vitamins to keep your body performing at its optimum level.
Eating healthy foods isn’t enough, you must always remember to drink plenty of water, especially after a workout. Stay hydrated!