Make the most of working out by ensuring that what you eat after training will help you get the best nutrients into your body and not hinder your post-workout recovery. Put the best fuel in your body and you supercharge the restoration of your body’s energy stores and the growth of your muscles. In your everyday life, it may be better to eat low GI foods which digest your meals more gradually like certain types of fat and fibre. But after a tough exercise session you want food that can be absorbed rapidly by your body so your post-exercise session recovery can begin in earnest.
So, what should you eat after your workout? For optimal nutrition after exercising, you should eat carbs and protein primarily. These types of food help your body increase muscle protein synthesis or growth, rebuild your reserves of glycogen energy and generally enhance your recovery. Eating the right protein and carbohydrates soon after you exercise will help your body recover faster and make you feel ready sooner for another trip to the gym!
When to Eat After a Tough Workout
Don’t delay eating after an energising session. Try to get some food into your body within 45 minutes of working out and definitely eat before two hours has elapsed. The timing of your post-workout meal does matter as you want your recovery process to be as efficient as possible and to start as soon as possible. In some studies, gym users lost up to 50% of their glycogen restoration by delaying their after-workout feed for more than two hours. If you want to maximise the muscle-building and fat-losing benefits of your gym workout, then you need to eat as soon as possible after your exercise session finishes.
Drink First for Effective Post Workout Recovery
Before you eat your fill of carbs and protein after your workout, make sure to take in plenty of liquid. Keep rehydrating after your exercise as you will have lost plenty of water and electrolytes through all that sweat. Replenishing these with water or a healthy liquid after a workout can really help your recovery and maximize your fitness results.
Feed Your Fitness with Plenty of Protein
Protein helps repair and build muscle so it’s ideal for your post-workout snack or meal. During a sweaty gym session muscle protein is broken down. By eating a sufficient amount of protein after exercising you provide your body with the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. You also offer your body the material required to add new muscle tissue. Simple and easily digested protein sources that you could include in your after-training meal include:
Animal or plant-based protein powder
- Protein bar (but check the label for ingredients, particularly sugars)
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
Cram in Some Carbs After Your Gym Exercise
You’re usually panting after an energetic session in the gym and no wonder. Your body’s energy reserves, glycogen stores, have been expended in your fitness workout. A great way to help replenish glycogen after exercise is to eat some carbs. As cardio causes your body to use more glycogen than strength training you might need to consumer more carbohydrates than a weightlifter typically would. While eating, both carbs and protein can maximize protein and glycogen recovery so you should try constructing your after-exercise meal in a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 3:1. Carbs that are ideal ingredients in healthy post-workout meals include:
- Dark, leafy green vegetables
- Fruits (particularly pineapple, berries, banana, and kiwi)
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
Foods You Should Avoid After a Workout
What foods should you avoid post-workout? As we mentioned above, fat and fibre should be avoided for the most part after training. Why? Fat and fibre slow down the rate of digestion at just the moment you want foods that are rapidly absorbed so you promote weight loss and muscle growth. Fat won’t however reduce the benefits of your workout overall so having some good fats in your post-workout meal will not affect your recovery. Fats you could include in a healthy post-workout recipe include:
- Nut butters
A Fun Diet of Fitness with Xercise4less Gyms
When you’re a member of Xercise4less Gyms, we always support you to perform better and to reach your fitness goals. And a great way to supercharge your fitness journey is to eat great foods after your gym session. But consuming the right nutrients after you exercise isn’t the only secret of success for Xercise4less gym members.
Our gym facilities are full of calorie-burning equipment as well as innovative workout areas that help you shed excess weight faster like the Ladies Only Gym Zone. You can also pick your favourite group workout from up to 40 top fitness classes or train with our personal fitness staff to create an individual exercise plan that will work for you. Join Xercise4less Gyms and you’ve taken the first bite of a real recipe for improved health and wellbeing.