You’re through with an intense strength training session, now it’s time to figure out a healthy post-workout meal to help fuel your recovery. Intense workouts require proper nutrition to fuel and sustain muscles. The kind of food consumed post-workout is equally as important as the food you eat before you exercise.
During an exercise session, glycogen stores deplete and lose fluids —along with electrolytes—through sweat. At the same time, you create micro-tears in your muscle tissue due to stretching. This breakdown process helps your muscles rebuild themselves to become bigger and stronger. But in order for your muscles to do that, you need to supply them with certain macro-nutrients.
Post-workout nutrition is essential for replenishing your muscle and body with glycogen lost from physical activity. Good nutrition can help your body perform better and recover faster after each workout. Each macro-nutrient in your post-workout recovery meal has a specific role to play. To optimize your results, you need to replace the amino acids and glycogen lost during your workout. A healthy exercise recovery meal helps stimulate protein synthesis to repair and build new muscle tissue and replenish fluid and electrolyte balance.
This blog post covers the importance of a post-workout meal for optimal recovery and also nourishing ideas to help you maximize your gains. Below are some ideas to help you fuel your post-workout recovery phase.
Baked Sweet Potato and Salmon Healthy Post-Workout Meal
Sweet potatoes are a great post-workout food because they’re a complex carbohydrate packed with nutrients, such as vitamin A and fiber. They help to restore glycogen levels which get reduced after a workout, are easy to digest and can boost your immune system.
Salmon is among the most nutritious food with loads of benefits. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can aid muscle recovery and reduce inflammation. They are rich in proteins, vitamin B, selenium, potassium. Salmon helps play a role in regulating insulin levels, protecting bone health and aiding weight loss.
A winning combination of baked sweet potatoes and grilled salmon filet, together provide the right amount of protein and carbs.
Chicken and Egg Veggie Salad
This grilled chicken salad on a bed of lettuce —together with the creamy mayonnaise as a binder— is rich in protein, and it is guaranteed to help you build lean body mass. Protein repairs tired muscles and tissues after a heavy workout session, ensuring speedy recovery of all body parts.
Chicken salad is high in protein and also contains many beneficial micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. The protein in the salad also helps keep the stomach full for longer thereby reducing hunger cravings significantly. Protein is one of the primary nutrients your body needs to build and maintain muscle, cartilage and bone.
Chicken salad is a versatile recipe as you can switch up the protein and ingredients. Skinless chicken or turkey breast, salmon, or even chunk light tuna are excellent choices. Use chicken or turkey that has been broiled, baked, grilled, air fried, or steamed as they do not require much fat and help reduce the calories. If you’re a vegetarian, stick with egg whites, beans or legumes for protein.
Grilled Chicken Veggie Wraps
Trying different wrap recipes is a fun way to switch up your routine. They are portable, easy to make and fun to eat. You can add the lean meat of your choice, greens, beans, some fresh avocado, or whatever suits your taste bud and enjoy. They offer a lot of variety and you’re sure to find one you love.
This grilled chicken wrap is made with wholesome ingredients like chicken, tomatoes, veggies and whole wheat pita bread. Adding the right amount of carbs, will help to provide you the needed nutrients to replenish your glycogen, but won’t give you a post-workout insulin surge. This provides your body with a good combination of complex carbohydrates and proteins, which will help your muscles repair them growth and development.
Veggie Pasta Healthy Post-Workout Meal
Pasta is a classic food for bodybuilding. It’s a great post-workout carbohydrate source and fuel, as it is easily converted into energy. It is super easy to prepare and is an excellent alternative to rice or potatoes.
Intense training depletes your glycogen levels, at the same elevates levels of the stress hormone—cortisol. After a workout, your body begins to drive amino-acids into your muscles when you eat fast-digesting glycemic carbs. That makes post-workout the optimal time for a fast-digesting meal. It will help you recover sufficiently after each workout so that you can repair and grow your muscles.
For muscle building try to adapt your recipe to eat less pasta and more of protein and veggies. You’ll want to be careful with the amount of fat you add to your pasta. Too much fat in your recipe can increase the overall calories or may not even be a healthy source of fat. For example, choose healthy fats such as olive oil over unhealthy fats like butter.
In conclusion, what you eat after a workout, when you eat it and also the ratio you consume depends on the individual and type of workout. It’s recommended to eat about an hour to two hours after weight training or as close to your post-workout as possible.
3 things to keep in mind about post-workout meals include:
- The best post-workout meals to help you gain muscles are rich in carbohydrates and high in protein.
- Consuming a post-workout meal is important to prevent muscle breakdown
- When strength training, be sure to consume protein more often.
However, the most important factor is to make sure you eat the healthy and right kind of foods based on your personal fitness goals.