In my earlier article of Should We Eat After Workout, we learn that it is important to eat after workout. But, what should we eat?
Wait, before taking any food, remember to drink enough water after your exercise. Drink water, juice, or carbohydrate rich sports drinks to replace what you sweat out.
If you are a competitive athlete, what you eat after a workout is very important. If you are a recreational exerciser and work out two to three times a week, you need not worry as much about post-exercise foods because your body will have enough time between workouts to recover.
Now, depending on your exercise, what you eat will be different.
- If you just completed a cardiovascular exercise, you should consume fibrous carbohydrate. A good post cardio food include fruit salad, yogurt, brown rice, oatmeal, cereal, toast and all natural peanut butter.
- As for resistance or weight training, after the workout, I suggest that you to take combination of protein and carbohydrates. After the training, the muscle tissue will be “torn”. Therefore, we need protein to build and repair these tears so the muscle increases in strength and density.
- What is the role of carbohydrates then? Many believe that carbs will make them fat. Not really in this case. We need the carbohydrates to help get the protein into our muscle cells. If your post workout meal does not contain carbs, muscle tissue may be broken down to achieve this purpose.
- Carbs also create an insulin spike which helps to move nutrients into your muscle tissue quicker.
- Some post weight training meal includes potato and chicken or fish, a protein shake with a banana, or oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder, egg whites and toast, or some kind of lean quality protein between two slices of whole grain bread.
- For those who can afford for supplement, whey protein is proven to be very effective. It has been proven to get into muscle cells faster than any other protein source. While egg whites, chicken or tuna fish are fine sources of protein that I personally eat daily, I have to admit that they are not the ideal type of protein for the meal after your workout. Protein in whole foods is digested pretty slowly. So, by the time the protein is digested, much time may have been passed. Currently, I do not take supplement, but will consider doing so in near future. If that happens, I shall share with you what works best for me.
- Avoid fat if possible. Fat slows down digestion of protein and carbs. So, taking oily food will defeat the purpose.
- Last advice – experiment with the amount of food or drink and with the proportions of carbs, protein and fat to find out what works best for you.
In a nutshell, what to eat and how much to eat depends on your workout intensity and duration. A person who does only 15 minutes of brisk walk should definitely not eating the same as an athlete who does an hour of weight training in the gym. Also, knowing what to eat will help you to plan what to prepare for post-workout meal ahead of time.