We’ve all heard it by now— whether it comes to sleep/recovery, or what you’re fueling your body with, it’s not just the time you’re working out that matters, but what you do before and after it. In fact, it’s these non-workout times that can actually have just as much of an impact on your bottom-line fitness results as what you do in the gym.
Just like you can’t expect to slack on sleep and recovery and still see the best results, you also can’t slack on your post-workout refueling game if you want your body to rebuild and make progress (and who doesn’t!?)
The second any workout ends, be it an EMS style session or a run or after a round of boxing, your body begins to repair and rebuild, and looks for a source of glycogen and protein, which is where your optional post-workout meal comes in. The advice most agreed upon by the experts is that refueling with an optimal blend of healthy carbohydrates (to replenish glycogen stores) plus protein (to help muscles repair and build) is your best bet, whether your goals are more muscle-building or fat loss oriented.
Here are a few great post-workout meals you can enjoy that will help your body best repair and rebuild. All will satisfy your taste buds and restore those depleted muscles.
1. Whole grain cereal/oats
You can enjoy cereals anytime of the day, though of course we’re not talking sugary breakfast cereals, but whole grain options like a bowl of old-fashioned oats or a blend of grains such as millet or amaranth if you want to spice things up. You can top your bowl with your pick of fruit and easily amp up the protein with a scoop of your favorite protein powder and maybe some nut butter, and enjoy a hearty, healthy ideal recovery meal.
2. Fruit + Protein Powder Shake
Shakes are the old standby for most people’s recovery meal, but there are way more exciting options than just downing some protein power shaken up with water or milk. Toss frozen bananas and berries into a blender with your protein powder and milk of choice, or get tropical with a mango and pineapple blend. With so many protein powders on the market, just make sure you’re grabbing one with high quality protein (from pea, quinoa, soy, whey--the choice is yours) and no fillers or artificial flavors.
3. Egg or Tofu Scramble
An ideal protein packed meal, you can easily whip up a scramble on the stovetop with either eggs or mashed tofu. Toss in some veggies like spinach, peppers, and onions, season with spices like turmeric, garlic powder, or fresh herbs like chives or dill. Endlessly adaptable, this meal will keep you full and give your body the protein it needs. Pair it with some fruit or a slice of whole grain toast, or roll it all up in a whole-grain tortilla for your carb fix.
4. Yogurt and Fruit Bowl
Another ideal combo of protein and carbs, you can’t beat yogurt and fruit for simplicity or ease. There are many yogurt options these days, so whether you’re choosing to consume dairy or not, just make sure your yogurt contains at least 5-6 grams of protein if not more, and if you want extra, you can always stir in a half or full scoop of protein powder into the yogurt. Top with your choice of fruit for carbs, or maybe some granola (just make sure it’s not a sugary overload) and you’re good to go.
Traditional fitness-wisdom says the ideal time to enjoy a post workout meal is within 15-30 mins of completing your workout, but don’t get too hung up on the timing –the important thing is that you do make sure to refuel within a reasonable time post-workout, to replenish the stores that your body burnt through during your sweat session.
Bonus benefit: For those day you need a little extra oomph to motivate you to lace up your shoes and get your workout done, a fridge full of delicious and healthy post-workout foods never hurt! Enjoy!
FITtec. – Fitness for Life