(2 minute read)
There is so much controversy and confusion around what you should be eating after a workout, so i’m going to simplify it for you to make the right decisions, leaving you satisfied, replenished, making progress towards your goals and feeling great.
Your post workout meal is very important, you should never be left feeling hungry and tired after your post workout meal! You certainly should not be following a rabbits diet and chomping on some lettuce leaves after a workout. This will leave you feeling lethargic, tired and worst of all really prevent progress, be that fat loss or muscle building. Obviously you don’t want to be undoing all the hard work you have done in the gym but you do want to continue your progress and feel great!
When you exercise at a higher intensity, regardless of what you do, your muscles use glycogen as fuel, following exercise this is depleted and therefore needs replenishing.
The two most important nutrients after a work out are:
Fast absorbing carbohydrates are the best to have following a workout, meaning your muscles get replenished quicker. These come form from white starchy sources such as white potato, pasta, bread, rice, oats, but also from refined sugar and fruit sugar or syrups. I would advise sticking to the white starchy sources following a workout.
Whole grain carbohydrates such as brown rice, beans, lentils, quinoa, buckwheat and many more are more fibrous and therefore slightly slower to digest, fantastic sources for all other meals.
Consuming protein post-workout gives your body the amino acids you need to repair and rebuild muscle proteins. This will not make you look like hulk, it will simply help you feel stronger, have more energy and help with fat loss if that is your goal.
Focusing on easily digestible foods after a workout will promote faster nutrient absorption:
Consuming carbohydrates (pasta or toast) with fats (cheese of butter), the fat will slow down the release of the carbohydrate into the blood for the muscles. While fat is very important in the diet it is best eaten not following a workout as will slow absorption of the carbohydrates, great for a normal meal and can keep you fuller for longer, but not ideal when you want the carbohydrates to be absorbed quick following a workout.
Long story short?
For your post workout meal, have some protein and white starchy carbohydrate with some veg. Here are some examples:
Carbs: Sweet potato, white potato, bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, oats, fruit or a banana is a great one too.
Protein: Chicken,Turkey, tuna, cod, eggs, Quorn, tofu or a protein shake is a quick and easy one too.
Try to eat within an hour of working out to get the best benefits and consume a combination of protein and carbohydrates which will stimulate muscle protein growth and repair while improving your recovery and progress also enhancing your performance.
Stay tuned for what to eat pre workout, as I will do a blog on this soon!
BSc Sport and Exercise Science
Women’s Fitness Specialist and Personal Trainer