What Should I Eat After My Workout?
You’ve been there before: a sweaty mess on the floor after your workout and the endorphins are racing through you. Your mind starts to drift to the growling hunger in your belly as you bask the in the freedom of eating whatever you want!
But should you?
The answer is an annoying one: yes, and no.
Your body’s running on overdrive now— your metabolism is high; all your organs and muscles are lean mean glucose machines that have been stripping glycogen from your body— and this is where it gets tricky.
There are many ways to answer this question, but I’ll keep it simple, and answer it in 3 ways that will benefit most people.
First: Energy out, energy in.
The base answer is a mathematical one. When you move, you use energy and when you eat, you gain energy. Now, depending on what you’re going to the gym for, how much energy you need to take back in and what kind of fuel you need will vary.
The most basic rule of thumb is this: as soon as you can, have some easily digestible protein and carbohydrates. This can be as simple as a protein shake and a banana.
When you exercise, in addition to using energy, small tears in your muscle fibres will develop. This isn’t cause for concern, because these small tears cause your muscles to grow back stronger.
As mentioned earlier, blood is rushing through your body, and the faster the sugar (from the carbs) gets back to replenish glycogen stores and the amino acids (from the protein) get back to help the muscles grow, the better your recovery.
Next: Store a bit for later.
Add extra calories – in the form of fat – to prepare for situations when you don’t have immediate access to food. And, if you’re trying to gain weight, the extra calories you consume in your post workout meal is definitely a good thing!
Go-to fat options for me include whole milk, almonds and peanut butter. If you own a blender, a scoop of protein powder, some milk, a banana and some nuts or peanut butter ticks all the boxes.
If you’re trying to lose or maintain your bodyweight, skip the nuts and peanut butter and use water. Blend it at home and bring it in a bottle when you train. It’s something to look forward to during the burpees.
Finally: Don’t forget to eat normally around this post workout meal.
It’s tempting to want to use this as a meal replacement option, and in some cases, this can be really useful, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
Beyond going to the gym, your body requires a daily energy intake to maintain all the regular processes like breathing, digestion, thinking and keeping your heart beating. This post workout meal repairs your body for the specific purpose of training, and you still need to eat regularly!
That’s something that requires a conversation, and not a single article. Talk to someone who you trust knows their stuff!
This article was written by John Cheah.
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