I’ll tell you what most novice exercisers don’t think about: Eating good recovery foods after a workout! In fact, unless you’re paying a trainer, most people never even think of recovery foods?
Whether you’re a professional athlete, just love taking care of yourself with regular workouts and exercise, or building muscle mass — diet and nutrition post-workout is key to the benefits you get from your efforts. Recovery foods are essential, but what are the best foods to eat?
What Are Good Recovery Foods For After A Workout?
Whether you’re exercising to stay fit and healthy, or working out as a pro athlete, you need foods that will amplify the recovery process.
The food you eat after exercise is just as important as what you eat before you train. The foods you eat make a great deal of difference in soreness, recovery time, and energy. both before and after. Eating the following foods make after my workouts makes the difference in how I feel, how quick my energy comes back, and how well my muscle tissue recovers and rebuilds:
Fruit Smoothie with Protein Base
A fruit smoothie will not only hydrate the body after training, but it also packs plenty of nutrients into a single beverage. Another advantage of liquid meals is that they are quick to digest and absorb. A smoothie recipe that combines carbohydrates and protein provides the primary food sources required after a workout. I like blending frozen fruit with Greek yogurt, whey protein shake, or soy milk. Sometimes I add natural sweeteners for even more taste and flavors.
Dried Fruits and Nuts
And if you’re short of time when it comes to cooking full meals after exercise: try dried fruits and nuts. Dried fruits and nuts are usually a really convenient option that is full of nutrients. Whenever you eat dried fruits you’re getting a good portion of simple carbohydrates and a quick injection of protein from the nuts you eat.
Grilled Chicken Mixed with Veggies
When your body is in recovery mode, you will need a good supply of proteins and carbohydrates. A meal with grilled chicken and vegetables makes a healthy and full meal to help your body recover from any exercise regime. Grilled chicken will nourish your body with low-fat lean protein to repair muscle tissue while the vegetables ensure complex carbohydrates to replenish your muscle glycogen.
Tofu Veggie Scramble
Even if you are a vegetarian, you can still get a healthy protein and carbohydrate meal for post-exercise recovery. Tofu scrambled with spinach, green onions, sweet corn, roasted potatoes, and red peppers makes a colorful and nutrient-rich dish that you can have for your main meal after hitting the gym, track, treadmill, or whatever? You can add a dash of garlic for some flavor to your tofu veggie scramble.
This fantastic recovery drink contains everything you need after a workout. It has carbs and proteins for muscle recovery, water to replace fluids lost through sweat along with electrolytes like sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Chocolate milk is very easy to prepare with whey protein powders that come fortified with this chocolate flavor.
All you need to do is take a scoop of your favorite whey chocolate powder, add it to milk and mix thoroughly with a shaker bottle. You can even take this convenient drink with you to the gym and rehydrate immediately after a workout.
Here’s Why Eating the Right Foods After a Workout is Important
No matter how often you workout, whether you are powerlifting, working out at the gym, running, or walking — your body is:
- Breaking down muscle protein structures and glycogen
- Losing quite a bit of water
- Making thousands of minute tears in muscle tissue
So I know that the best thing I can do for exercise recovery is to be aware of what I’m eating so my body can make a quick comeback.
My post-workout meals need to revolve around what’s best for:
- Replenishing my glycogen levels
- Rehydrating my body
- Supply my body with essential nutrients that actually aid muscle tissue repair
If I attempt to stave off hunger and food cravings with junk foods immediately after my exercise, I’ve defeated the entire purpose of my efforts. So it’s wise to stay away from snacks and food that is high in fat and empty calories.
Instead of unconsciously eating away on anything that gets in the way after exercise, try thinking through a good post-workout snack or meal to help your body recover.
If you read this post — What Are The Best Foods To Eat Before A Workout — you see that eating healthy foods all the time and staying away from junk foods gets you the most benefits from all your workout efforts.
When Should You Eat After a Workout?
Foods and drinks have different time frames for consumption after a workout. For example, fluids can be taken during and even immediately after a workout in order to keep hydration levels up throughout the exercise session.
Sports nutrition experts recommend snacking 30 minutes after a workout. Snacks can have 0.5 to 0.7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. Whereas a full meal is best taken within two hours of your workout to ensure a fast recovery.
Consuming good recovery foods after a workout is often overlooked, but an all-important part of the process of gaining muscle mass without getting fat.
The fact is if you’re working out regularly and always looking for ways to improve and reach for higher goals — you already know how important it is to treat your body right.