Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step and you’ve made it to the gym.
Now that you’ve worked so hard, you deserve the best results out of your workout. In order to finish right, it’s important that you consume the best nutrients after you exercise.
While working out, your muscles use glycogen for fuel. The result is that your muscles are partially depleted of glycogen. On top of that, some of the proteins in your muscles get broken down and damaged. After your workout, your body needs to rebuild its glycogen and repair its muscle proteins. Eating soon after exercise can help your body with the process, so it’s important to eat carbs, proteins and healthy fats.
Your post-workout meal should supply your body with the right nutrients for recovery and maximize the benefits of exercise. The following are the best foods to eat afterward to get the best results out of your hard work.
Nutritionists suggest chocolate milk, quinoa, fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi), rice cakes and rice, oatmeal, potatoes and sweet potatoes, pasta, and dark, leafy green vegetables.
Consider animal- or plant-based protein powder, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, salmon, chicken, protein bars and tuna.
Add avocado to your meal, or snack on nuts, nut butters and trail mix. Make sure you’re selecting healthier fats—no one is suggesting that it’s time for donuts or candy.
Ideally, you should eat within 30 minutes of working out. But if you don’t want too much food right away, have a snack within 20 minutes of your training, then a full meal three to four hours later.
And what to avoid? Steer clear of spiciness, sugary drinks and fast foods. These are difficult for your body to digest and not worth counteracting the exercise you’ve just done.
When you skip a post-workout snack or meal, you can end up fatigued and battle low blood sugar. You’re also standing in the way of your body’s natural repair process: Getting in the right nutrients after exercise can help you build your muscle proteins and glycogen stores. Make your workout count by trying these foods to help your body get all that it deserves.