So you kicked butt during your workout, you come home, and now what? Most people know that they should have protein after a workout, but a little known fact is that your body is the most sensitive to what you eat directly after a workout. That means your post-workout nutrition will have more of an effect on your hard work than at any other time of the day. Even if those foods are technically good for you.
Don’t spoil your workout with a peanut butter sandwich, or a plain salad. Wait, that’s what you’ve been having? You’re gonna need to read this.
What you need to know about post-workout nutrition:
- Lean protein is your best friend. Stay away from fatty sources of protein like peanut butter and beef, and stick to ground turkey or chicken.
- You also need slow-digesting carbohydrates for at least two reasons: 1) you’ve probably depleted your glycogen stores and they need to be refilled with glucose (aka carbs); 2) protein can’t be shuttled to your muscles without carbs helping out. Some good carbs to eat are brown rice, sweet potatoes, and of course lots of vegetables!
- Stay away from fats! Even healthy fats like nuts and avocados. Fats digest more slowly, and they will hinder your muslces’ absorption of protein. The idea is to get protein to the muscles as quickly as possible so they’ll repair before you become catabolic (Being catabolic means not having enough food/energy in you, so your body starts breaking down your muscles for energy instead. This backfires for any kind of muscle growth or toning, so you want to stay away from this as much as possible. It’s very easy to become catabolic directly after a workout, or even during one, so that’s why you should have protein as soon as possible.)
- Try a protein shake. Protein shakes are awesome because they get that protein in you immediately, giving you time to prepare a post-workout meal without having to rush. Always use 100% Whey Protein. My favorite is actually the one the girl is holding in the picture above. You can find it at any supplementation store.
When you get home:
This is what I usually prepare for a post-workout meal, or a quick and easy meal at any time of the day!
Carbs: I like to stick with just vegetables. Broccoli, celery, green beans, green, red or yellow peppers, and of course garlic for its flavor and health benefits. You can also add red or black beans, lima beans, or pinto beans for added fiber and protein.
Protein: Ground turkey, drain the fat and add olive oil if needed. Not pictured here, but I also like to add a few egg whites at the end to give the meal a little more protein and some moisture. Ground turkey and vegetables can quickly get dried out.
The end result of your post-workout meal will look something like this:
Just remember that your post-workout nutrition is essential for getting to the next step in your fitness goals! You can never out train a bad diet. Play around with this recipe as much as you like, adding anything that does not include sodium, and let me know in the comments below what you come up with!
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