Have you ever caught yourself planning your workouts for days and weeks (or even months!) in advance? Yet, we seldom consider what to eat afterward. I'm definitely guilty of not planning my day out well and making poor post-workout meal choices out of hanger.
What you put into your body after a workout is as important as the exercise. But with so many options, from protein shakes to full meals, it's hard to know which food is best for our bodies after a workout. Join me in learning more about refueling efficiently and effectively every time you break a sweat.
Why Post Workout Nutrition Matters
In today's fast-paced culture, I often get stuck going straight from an intense exercise session and onto the rest of my day. However, post-workout nutrition is essential to the recovery process and overall muscle growth.
How Foods Help Maximize Your Workout Results
When your muscles have just been through a challenging and intense training session, they need nourishment to repair what's been torn, and post-workout meals are the key! The proper meal after a workout helps replenish glycogen stores, rebuild muscle tissue, help the body with muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth), and even increase fat burning.
According to Verywell Fit, "Glycogen is the body's stored form of glucose, which is sugar. Glycogen is made from several connected glucose molecules and is your body's primary and preferred source of energy. Glycogen is stored in your liver and muscles and comes from carbohydrates in the foods you eat and drink."
What if I'm trying to lose body weight?
Consuming carbs and sugar may seem counterproductive if one of your fitness goals is to lose body weight. A benefit of hiring a personal trainer is that they can guide you toward the right amount and type of food to help your body recover while still losing weight. Don't underestimate the importance of nutrition-based post-workout recovery - you deserve and need it in every shape and size.
The Right Post-Workout Meal or Snack to Promote Muscle Protein Synthesis
So I'll be honest, the post-workout snack is one of my favorite parts of exercise most days. But if you and I want to maximize those workout gains then it's important to pay attention to what you're fueling up with afterward.
I like to choose workout snacks packed with high-quality protein and healthy fats for sustained energy and essential amino acids - in other words, food that will keep me feeling full and energized until my next meal. I consider things that won't spike my blood sugar but still offer proper nutrition for muscle glycogen, such as eating protein-packed trail mix, grabbing a chocolate milk sports drink, or even a sports medicine-inspired smoothie.
This helps me ensure I get everything I need after a workout instead of draining my body's glycogen stores, causing me to lose mental clarity and run for that greasy takeout or sugary snack. Small changes like this can help make healthy eating easier after exercise and set you up for success in future workouts!
Explore Protein-Packed Snacks that Replenish Lost Nutrients
As active individuals, we constantly push our bodies to the limit and deplete our nutrient stores. But replenishing those nutrients is just as important.
One of the best ways to consider nutrient timing for food intake is by packing protein into healthier snacks. A smoothie with whey protein powder can be a great choice to limit fat intake. While post-workout drinks with water-soluble vitamins and minerals may seem appealing, sports drinks typically focus on your body's hydration and don't have the whole package to promote muscle repair.
For carbohydrates, whole grain bread can give us the bonus of some needed complex sugars and lean protein. These are just a few options you can explore if you need some quick and healthy snacks packed with protein!
Get Your Weight Training and Protein Intake at the Same Place!
Eating after a workout is essential for optimal performance, endurance, and recovery. If you're looking for guidance on what to eat before, during, and after training, Fitness Evolution in Bellingham offers an expansive list of ideas.
Our menu offers energy-rich snacks like fruit smoothies that replenish lost nutrients in an easy-to-digest form. We also have protein-focused smoothies with nuts, whey, and more. Plus, they ensure you have enough fuel and feel energized during your next intense training workout session. When you stop in for a gym tour - don't forget to grab a smoothie!