Regularly hitting the gym and putting effort into your exercises is just half the work done. If you expect to gain muscle and speed up recovery from your workouts, consume the right post-workout foods and drinks to make the workout count. Having good food after a workout is just as crucial as your fitness routine.
You store excess energy in your body in the form of carbohydrates (glycogen) and proteins. When working out, the body fuels itself from the foods that you have consumed recently, and later breaks down stored carbs. Within an hour after workout, your body starts absorbing the available glycogen and protein to rebuild and promote muscle growth. Therefore, to replenish all the lost nutrients and maximize the workout benefits, you should choose healthy and easily digestible foods.
Best Things to Eat After a Workout
Vegan powder or whey protein mixed with carb-rich foods such as milk, juices, and shakes, along with some add-ins such as peanut butter and fruits do more than just pumping your muscles. When ingested after a hard workout session, the powdered protein helps in restoring energy, boosting the immune system, and burning body fat.
No matter how you take it – poached, scrambled, over easy, or sunny side up – an egg is a complete source of protein. It consists of essential amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D, helping in reducing muscle damage. Eggs, being a versatile food, can be served with peppers and onions, lean turkey, avocado, or slices of toast.
Yellowfin tuna taken with whole grain crackers, flavored by adding a dab of mustard, pepper, and olive oil is a healthy post-workout meal to have on-the-go. While the tuna is rich in protein, the crackers provide you with necessary carbs, which help in driving essential nutrients into muscles.
When it comes to restoring your glycogen supply, sources of plant-based wholesome carbs such as sweet potatoes are the best choice. Sports dieticians and nutritionists recommend this superfood since it is rich in healthy fibers, vitamin A, and carbohydrates that keep you in shape for your next sweat session.
An excellent source of protein and carbohydrate, the Greek yogurt is one of the best foods to eat post workout. When taken with fruits (including fresh berries) or wholegrain cereals, it provides plenty of micronutrients that aid in fighting muscle soreness.
Fruits such as pineapples, berries, kiwi, and banana are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help in preventing cell or muscle damage. Moreover, their anti-inflammatory properties are useful for recovering from muscle soreness. Fresh juices prepared from fruits are a healthy drink that can be consumed after a workout.
It is a healthy option for recovery after an arduous training session. Research studies have shown that chocolate milk is beneficial for not just rehydrating the body but also supplying glycogen to tired muscles. Aside from refreshing your body, it provides you with healthy fats, calcium, and other nutrients.
It has free-radical fighting and fat-burning properties in addition to energy boosting effects. Its powerful antioxidants help in reducing muscle soreness and inflammation associated with exercise-induced free radicals. You can drink a cup of ginger-infused green tea both before and after a workout session.
Best Post-Workout Meals
Here is a compilation of some of the most nutritious meals that are easy to eat.
- Tuna salad sandwich with whole grain bread
- Banana with protein shake
- Fruits and cottage cheese
- Sweet potato with salmon
- Egg omelet and avocado
- Whey protein, oatmeal, and almonds
- Scrambled egg with spinach, onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms
- Chicken with mashed sweet potato
- Skimmed milk with whole grain cereals
The foods listed above will certainly put you on track to improve your post-workout recovery. Follow the combinations to revive your metabolism and boost your performance during the next training session.