The importance of eating before you workout seems straightforward enough, but knowing what to eat after a workout can be a bigger challenge.
Especially when all you want to do is reward your healthy habits with something totally unhealthy!
When you workout, your body expends stores of glycogen derived from carbohydrates to provide the energy it needs.
However, you muscles store a lot of extra energy in the form of protein, and when they are tired, they have to recover!
Muscle exhaustion after a hard workout tends to break these proteins down, resulting in a muscle breakdown.
However, the hour-long window of time after a workout is ideal for preventing this breakdown and feeding your tired body so that it rejuvenates and rebuilds itself stronger.
How Much To Eat
Your muscles are prone to absorbing carbohydrates and proteins after a workout. Your post-workout protein-to-carb ratio should be 2 to 1, based on how much you weigh and what your goals are.
If you’re looking to simply recover and maintain current muscle mass and say your current weight is 150 pounds, you would need to eat 38 grams of carbs and 19 grams of protein after a workout.
The amount you need is calculated in relation to your current weight, so here are some handy formulas.
Current body weight x .25 = carbs needed post-workout
Current body weight x .125 = protein needed after workout
What To Eat
We get it. Protein shakes can get a little old, and some brands have weird, sneaky chemicals and sugars that hide under the guise of a healthy post-workout recovery.
Plus, there’s nothing like biting into a real meal after you’ve worked hard. Here are our suggestions for real, effective post-workout food.
Greek Yogurt and Fresh Fruit
This treat acts like a dessert, but treats your body like the power food it is. Also try blending in your favorite whole grain granola or cereal!
Classic Chicken And Veggies
This is versatile and easy to prepare! A general combo of poultry and veggies will often yield not only a protein and carb-dense meal, but also yields plenty of fiber and vitamins.
Another easy, customizable dish, the two-egg omelet involves cheese, lots of veggies such as mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions, and the powerful protein found in eggs.
Sandwich or Wrap
Use whole grain bread or wraps, lean meat such as chicken, turkey, or tuna, throw lettuce and tomato in the mix and voila! Who knew this lunchtime favorite had so much post-workout power?