It’s common to grab something to eat absent-mindedly after your workout as you are tired and famished and just want to feed your body. Or if you think you deserve that nice big plate of char kway teow or fried rice after your meal, STOP!
What you put into your mouth after workout is very important as this is the crucial period where your metabolism is worked up and your muscles are hungry, so whatever you consume is going to go straight to them.
So if you eat processed foods that are high in fats and sugar, your body cannot compromise with them efficiently and eventually your metabolism will be slowed down. That’s really a waste! What your body require are proteins and healthy carbohydrates with a little fat thrown in to renew and repair your muscles.
They should be eaten preferably after your workout and not a few hours later. Most ideally within the hour as this is the period known as the golden hour where your muscles absorb the most nutrients and when glycogen, an energy reserve in your muscles is replaced most efficiently.
So what foods should you eat post workout?
Here are five great food options for you to choose from:
1 .CHOCOLATE MILK
According to fitness experts, drinking chocolate milk can aid in exercise recovery as it has double the carbohydrate and protein content when compared to plain milk or water. It can replenish fatigued muscles, replace fluids lost as sweat and has a nutritional bonus of a little sodium and sugar which help athletes retain water for recovery and regain energy.
2. LEAN PROTEIN WRAP
This is a tricky one; you don’t want a heavy meat sandwich or a burger but something that contains light protein that is easy to digest and won’t leave you feeling sluggish. A lean turkey or chicken wrap with lettuce and tomatoes is a good option of what to eat. You can prepare this way ahead and pack it so that you can have it after your gym session on the way home. Whatever protein you choose, aim for approximately 20 to 25 grams of protein.
Another good source of protein is eggs. They are easy to prepare and nutritious. Complement an omelette with good carbohydrates like brown rice to create a meal that is sure to help your body recover. A good ratio of carbohydrate to protein to follow for a post workout meal is 2:1.
4. PROTEIN SHAKES
These shakes are one of the best ways to get your muscles refuelled! Just stay clear of those that are high in sugar. They are easy to prepare and are easily broken down by the body when ingested giving you all the necessary nutrients your body needs to recover.
5. PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA
We know we mentioned five foods but we just couldn’t leave out either of these two. Peanut butter and bananas are a great mix of protein and carbohydrates that are just the thing your body needs after exercising so hard. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and it contains the right carbohydrates, fibre and unsaturated fat.
Bananas provide good carbohydrates and have a gylcemic index of 54 which will help to restore your body’s glycogen levels which are depleted during workouts. In addition, it will replenish the potassium that your body loses through perspiration. One of the important functions of potassium is that it is needed for the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins.
So make sure you eat right after your workout to gain the maximum benefits of your workout. What other foods or snacks do you consume after your workout?