A workout is only complete with the right diet, in terms of amount as well as quality. This diet is divided into two parts – post-workout and pre-workout. A balance between these two ensures healthy and proper workout results. Let us look at it a bit into detail.
“I will beat her. I will train harder. I will eat cleaner. I know her strengths. I’ve lost to her before but not this time. She is going down. I have the advantage because I know her well. She is the old me.” -Unknown
What’s the Post-Workout Snack All About?
Most of us tend to go all-in when we workout. Grinding like there’s no tomorrow, we put our bodies through a great deal to achieve the level of fitness we want.
Fitness, however, has two dimensions to it: workout and a balanced diet. What you eat throughout the day, particularly before and after your workout, plays a major role in your fitness journey.
Chances are, most of us give sufficient thought only to the pre-workout part of our fitness routine, eating the right nutrients to energize us for our workout.
The post-workout meal, however, is just as important, if not more. A common misconception is that eating too much after an intense workout cancels out the calories you just burned, thereby defeating the whole purpose of the workout. This is no more than a simple myth. The best time to load yourself up with nutrients is, undoubtedly, right after a workout. While working out, the body burns fat to use it as energy. When we eat right after the workout, the calories don’t replace the burned fat. Fat is deposited in the body only when the body has no other use for the excess calories we consume.
What Happens If I Starve Myself Instead?
During an intense workout, our muscles become partially stripped of glycogen. Certain proteins, too, can become damaged and broken down.
After we’re done, the body needs calories to repair and restore itself from a gruelling session. Skipping meals after a workout can cause an imbalance or a negative physiological environment which does not conduce to building up of the muscle tissue.
It is imperative that you consume enough carbohydrates, proteins and fat within 45 minutes after your workout.
The protein helps to repair and build the muscles, the carbohydrates replenish your depleted glycogen stores and healthy fats like milk promote muscle growth.
Okay, What Should I Eat?
There are plenty of rich nutritious food options that could nourish us from head to toe, and if we had to talk about every single one of these, you’d never see an end to this article.
Let’s talk about 8 super foods that are guaranteed to help.
Lean proteins, such as chicken. Boiled chicken is a known source of rich lean proteins, and a very healthy one at that. Eating boiled chicken with a side of some boiled vegetables is a great post-workout snack. Another great snack would be grilled chicken with roasted vegetables.
Power greens, put together in a super-nutritious salad. This may include a combination of spinach, lettuce, kale, shredded carrots and basically any other leafy vegetable you’d like in your salad.
Chocolate milk has recently become the new ultimate post-workout recovery drink. In comparison to plain water, milk or other sports drinks, chocolate milk has so much more protein and carbohydrate content in it. It replenishes sore muscles and replaces fluids lost during the workout as sweat, thereby protecting you from dehydration, too.
Avocado and eggs are, individually, rich sources of healthy fat and proteins, respectively. When combined together in the form of an egg omelette with avocado, probably spread on toast, the effects are doubly beneficial to tired muscles.
Protein shakes are a good idea for two reasons: one, they’re loaded with protein and two, they’re liquid and are digested really quickly, which means they act on the body faster.
Greek yogurt is popular among fitness enthusiasts for one major reason. It’s low fat. You could eat this with a banana, berries, granola or any other fruit you like.
Fish is another brilliant source of protein, especially tuna fish. If you’re a tuna fish fan, this is your chance to whoop and enjoy a yummy snack just after you’ve worked hard on your body!
Oatmeal is pretty healthy, it may seem boring to most of us, it’s probably a great idea after an intense workout. You could make your oatmeal a little interesting, by adding almonds, bananas, apples or other fruits, cut into small bits and mixed into it. At least the flavour of your favourite fruit will work for you.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
You could eat healthier than the healthiest of people, and workout till you hit the floor, exhausted, but your regime would be incomplete without enough water. And I can’t stress this enough, you’re going to need lots of water.
Particularly after a workout, you’ve lost a tremendous amount of body fluids through sweating, which can lead to severe dehydration if not replenished immediately. In addition to that, the muscles need water to work.
When short on water, your muscles could cramp up, rendering you incapable of working out for the next couple of days, which will, obviously, bum you out.
It’s always best to avoid that scenario, and drink as much water as possible. Just remember, there’s no such thing as drinking enough!