Refueling after a workout is important for muscle growth and recovery. You can achieve this with a protein bar built for your goals, a real food meal, or a protein smoothie. The type of food you eat is not as important as the nutrition of that food or the timing. There are three critical things to consider when strategizing your meal: timing, macronutrient breakdown, and food source. If you time your post-workout meals appropriately and eat the right foods, you’ll see optimal results from your fitness efforts.
- The timing of your post-workout meal is very important. You need to eat right away after a workout in order to refuel muscle and stimulate adaptation. In most cases, the timing of your post-workout meal will dictate the type of food available. This is why keeping protein bars on standby is important.
- The nutrition of the post-workout meal is as important as the timing. Most nutrition experts recommend a meal with a combination of carbs and protein and very little fat. The protein is essential for building new muscle, which in turn causes the body to burn more calories at rest. This raises the metabolism. The carbs in the recovery meal are important to refill glycogen in your muscles and liver. The post-workout meal should be low in fat. It has to be able to be digested quickly, whereas foods high in fat sit in the stomach and intestines for a longer time. When choosing your meal, make sure it has at least 20 to 25 grams of protein for women, and 30 to 45 grams for men.
- The type of food you choose depends on where and how you are working out. If you’re at the gym, having a nutritious post-workout smoothie is a great option. However, you must make sure that it has little to no fat in it. This might be hard to do when purchasing a smoothie from a vendor. Another option is to choose a protein bar that is right for your needs. You can choose to eat a real food meal, especially if you work out at home. Foods high in protein include chicken, turkey, lean red meats, eggs, dairy and tofu or tempeh..
- Meals that come after the post-workout meal should go back to your normal, balanced diet. It is important to make sure that you are eating enough carbs and fats in your diet. Fats are essential to a healthy diet. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, fats protect against insulin resistance and give the body energy. Therefore, you should make sure your diet contains a balance of healthy fats, carbs, protein, and vitamins.
Following these steps will help you to build muscle effectively after workouts. Over time, you will notice that you have more energy, have a lower body fat percentage, and have a higher metabolism. This means that you will burn calories faster if weight loss is a goal.. Adjust the number of calories you eat each day to make sure you are supporting your nutrition and activity needs. .
For more information on proper nutrition post-workout, contact us at Promax Nutrition.
Photo courtesy of Avery Watts @ flickr.com