You have put a lot of efforts into the gym, striving hard to reach your goal. With each passing day, you increase the weights, the reps. Chances are that you’ve built a good amount of strength; but have you given enough thought to your post-workout meal?
Consuming the right post-workout meal is equally important as slogging hard in the gym. I do not believe in the 70% nutrient, 30% exercise. In fact, it should be balanced. You should give equal importance to both nutrients and exercise.
EATING AFTER A WORKOUT
When you’re working out, your muscles use up glycogen in the form of energy, and you are left depleted. The muscles that you target gets broken down, and immediate repair is required.
Now, after the workout, you need to feed your body with the right nutrients so that the muscles can regrow efficiently.
You should normally consume foods that are high in protein and an adequate amount of carbs so that your glycogen level is restored.
Let’s break the macros, i.e, protein, carbohydrates, and fats and see what it does to our body.
As we have read earlier that during our workout, we break down our muscle tissue. Now, we need to feed our body so that the muscle regrows.
Consuming an adequate amount of protein is therefore important as it builds our muscles. Protein is the building blocks that are required to build new muscle tissue.
HOW MUCH TO CONSUME?
Research suggests that consuming 20-35 grams of protein in your post-workout meal is important.
Throughout the day, you should ideally consume around 1.2-1.5 grams per pound of body weight.
SOURCES OF PROTEIN
- Animal-based protein
- Plant-based protein
- Whole eggs
- Egg whites
- Cottage Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Fish, etc
Including carbohydrates in our post-workout meal is important. Carbs fuel us with energy (depending upon the type of carbs). After our workout, our body will be glycogen depleted and we need to replenish the glycogen level. Since the glycogen must be restored immediately, a quick digesting source of carbs is generally preferred (White rice, Candy, Potato, etc).
HOW MUCH TO CONSUME?
You should ideally consume 20-30 grams of carbohydrates in your post-workout meal, but it totally depends on your goal as well; whether you want to lose weight or to gain weight.
SOURCES OF CARBOHYDRATES
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown rice
- White rice
- Fruits, etc
Should you consume fats?
What fat does to your body is that it slows the digestion rate. The absorption rate of the nutrients is diminished and it will take your body a longer time to absorb the necessary nutrients.
However, research shows that consuming a high-fat meal in our post-workout meal does not affect glycogen synthesis. It is best advised to limit the intake of fats in our post-workout meal.
SOURCES OF FATS
- Nuts (Almonds, Pistachios, etc)
- Whole eggs
- Chia seeds, etc
WINDOW FOR POST-WORKOUT MEAL
You should ideally consume your meal within 45 minutes after working out. Since the window is relatively short, fast digesting protein and carbs should be consumed. A good blend of Whey protein and banana should do the trick.
However, if you are not able to eat within 45 minutes of working out, it’s important to not go much longer than 2 hours.
You should also drink plenty of water. During exercise, you lose water and electrolytes through sweat and it is necessary to maintain the optimum water balance within the body.