So you’ve just had a great workout and now want to reward yourself, not to mention you’re craving a greasy cheeseburger and fries. After all, you’ve earned it, right? You may want to think twice about this. What you eat after your workout is probably the most essential meal you’ll put in your body all day.
During exercise, your muscles are using your glycogen reserves for fuel leading to a partial depletion of glycogen in your muscles. Along with this, your body is also breaking down some of your muscle’s proteins and damaging them. Therefore, when you’re done exercising, your body begins immediately repairing and re-growing these muscle proteins and rebuilding your glycogen reserves.
You can help your body do this job quicker by eating meals rich in nutrients soon after your workout. In particular, you’ll want to consume lots of protein and carbs post-workout. Below are five post-workout meals you can indulge in after you work out.
Remember, your body is now in its state of recovery, so you’ll want to eat a healthy nutrient-filled dish. Grilled chicken and mixed veggies make the perfect dish for this and they don’t leave you feeling bloated. If you’re heart-health conscious, you should try using olive oil for your veggies instead of vegetable oil or canola.
2. Sweet Potato and Salmon
Salmon not only has the perks of protein your body needs, it also contains small protein molecules (bioactive peptides) that help with reducing inflammation for joint support and regulating insulin levels. You’ll also get complex carbs from the sweet potatoes which helps restore your levels of glycogen after being depleted post-workout.
Are you hungry after working out? If so, this is a great dish for you. After an intense workout where you’ve pumped the volume up more than normal and you trained hard, chances are your hunger will be up too. The extra fat and high creatine in beef helps replenish your energy stores and keeps you full and satisfied. Squash is starchy which digests slowly, keeping your hunger down. If you’re looking to lose weight, this is good news.
Wait around an hour after you perform a cardiovascular workout and then eat a vegetable-type carbohydrate and good protein source. A spinach salad with some chicken is a good example of this type of meal. By waiting 60 minutes after after you work out to eat, you’ll take advantage of the fat-burning action your cardio exercise session provides you.
Although it says breakfast, these vegetarian tacos with a whopping 16 grams of protein in two tacos are a good meal for any time of the day. You get fiber, protein and choline (an essential nutrient) with the beans and eggs that fill these delicious tacos. Not only this, but you get heart-healthy fats in the avocado which can help decrease post-workout inflammation and provide you with strong calories.
After any type of intense workout, it’s a good idea to eat a recovery meal soon after. Exercising puts stress on your joints, muscles and bones and you lose a lot of nutrients while working out which these post-workout meals help to replenish and provide you with raw materials your body needs to repair and heal itself.
Also, while protein is essential after a workout since it’s the building block of muscles, you should also include good fat in your recovery meals to help heal your joints and muscles. In addition, your meals should also include nutrient-rich vegetables like beans, quinoa or sweet potato to help fuel your depleted energy and post-workout metabolism.