So you've just had a great workout - you're sweaty, you may be in a time crunch & just want to shower & continue on with your day, but your body has just put out a lot of energy for you so you must feed it! It's optimal if you can eat a little something within 15 minutes of working out - but, if not, try to eat within an hour of finishing your workout. If you eat too late after a workout, you may already have passed that fueling up window of opportunity & could have an energy crash.
Without fueling your body after working out, you may also find your muscles have a harder time recovering - which can mentally and physically make you not want to workout the next day.
I find I'm either not hungry at all - or I'm starving after a workout - so I have to be mindful to eat something on those days I'm not hungry and not just eat the first thing I see on those days I'm super hungry.
When choosing post-workout foods, you want to look for something that will rebuild those muscles and replenish that energy you just spent. You definitely don't want to undo all the good you just did by eating things that will only end up being stored as fat.
So how much to eat?
A Personal Trainer told me a long time ago to aim for half of the calories you burned during your workout. So if you burned 500 calories - try and keep your post workout snack around 250 calories. That's the rule of thumb I've been using & I find it works for me.
Can I eat just anything?
Quick answer....no, of course! Even though you may try and watch the carbs in your daily diet, your body does need them after a work out - and if you're going to eat them, this is probably the best time since your body is still in that fat burning mode. This is why there's a big difference in sitting around eating a bagel and eating a bagel after working out. It's the difference between your body storing those carbs and your body burning them off & using that for energy
Eating a snack that has a higher carb content (30-50grams depending on the intensity of your exercise) helps to replace Glycogen your body has spent during your exercise session. Glycogen is basically the backup fuel you have in your body that releases Glucose into your bloodstream when you're in situations where your body needs a boost of energy - like exercising!
You do want your post workout snack to have protein in it as well. Protein rebuilds muscles and helps repair any damage that may have happened to them during your workout (and you don't have to physically feel pain for damage to have occurred)
Do you need to eat fat after a workout? No, not really - why would you want to?! Go for low fat choices after workout snacks.
What do I eat?
There are loads of great choices when it comes to refueling after a workout! Here are a few:
*Low-Fat Cottage Cheese with fruit
*Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
*Egg with Toast
*Quinoa (read more about this little miracle food here)
*Tuna (in water) on a slice of Whole Wheat Toast
*Bananas & Blueberries
*Dried Fruit & Nuts
*Yogurt with Almonds and/or Fresh Fruit
*2 Slices of Turkey with Low-Fat Cheese
*English Muffin or Bagel with Low-Fat Cheese or Peanut Butter
*Hummus with Whole Wheat Pita
*Yogurt Smoothie with berries (I like to use frozen ones in smoothies)
***Also remember to drink lots of water after (and before & during) a workout to help replace what you lost!
Think of eating after a workout like you would putting gas in your car after a long drive.....you are just looking to top off your tank, to be able to continue on...you don't want to keep driving without gas and you don't want to overfill.....you're just topping off. When you eat right after a workout, your body will thank you by keeping your energy up and by burning fat more efficiently for you!
Sounds like a win to me!!
Do you have any favorite post workout snacks?