When you workout, your body uses stored glycogen for fuel, thereby making your muscles short of glycogen. Besides that, fluids(alongside electrolytes) are also lost through sweating. In addition, some of the muscle protein also gets broken and damaged, especially during strenuous strength exercises or workouts. After a workout, your body then tries to rebuild its lost glycogen and repair or regrow those muscle proteins. This recovery and repair of the muscles after a workout is as important as the workout itself. During the workout, you get tiny tears in your muscles, and basically, the goal is to have your muscles heal and come back stronger and bigger over time. However, the only way to reap the benefits of your workout and build muscle is by having a good rest and eating post workout meals. There are some options you have to choose which are significantly better than others.
Why Post Workout Meals?
Furthermore, it is essential to understand the importance of post-workout meals intake to support your exercises and how your body responds to the demand of a physical workout. Post-workout meals will help replenish the muscle glycogen used up doing a workout. Besides that, they are essential to stimulate protein synthesis, enhance recovery, build new tissue and restore electrolyte balance in the body. Eating these foods in the right proportion will help you with the above benefits. Proteins, carbs, and fruits are particularly important to eat after workouts.
Skipping post-workout meals can contribute to an imbalance or negative physiological environment not conducive to building muscle tissue or repairing tissue damaged from exercise. This is why it’s recommended to eat within an hour after any workout. Choosing the right foods after your workout will help you in a lot of ways. Here’s a quick guide to making the most of your post-workout nutrition;
Rehydrate as soon as possible
During exercises and workouts, your body expels fluids and electrolytes as sweat. So, you must replenish the fluids( and electrolytes) you lost while sweating as soon as you can. Doing this is even more important than eating right away. However, getting enough water or energy drinks after exercise depends on some factors. These factors include the intensity and duration of the exercise, environmental conditions, and individual physiology. It’s recommended you drink 15 ounces of fluid for every pound you might have lost during a workout and use your pee as a guideline for your overall hydration status.
Workouts, especially challenging ones, leave your muscles starving for glycogen. Without enough nutrients to replenish the depleted glycogen stores, protein balance remains in a negative state. Proteins contain essential amino acids, and you can get them by eating protein-rich foods. In addition, eating protein within an hour after a workout improves muscle glycogen stores. You can maximize the rate of muscle glycogen synthesis by consuming protein along with carbohydrates immediately after exercise.
Furthermore, dairy protein works perfectly fine, just like protein-containing foods. Greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, and kefir are all excellent dairy proteins that stimulate synthesis in the muscles and aid recovery. Both milk and soy proteins help maintain and build muscle mass. Studies prove that milk proteins were more effective at supporting the rapid growth of lean muscle mass.
Carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread or cereals are excellent for replenishing glycogen levels in your muscles after endurance sports. You might even need to consume more carbs than a bodybuilder if you often exercise, such as twice a day. However, if you exercise just once in a while, this becomes useless. In addition, carbohydrates and protein consumption( in the ratio 3:1) also helps increase insulin secretion. This helps improve glycogen synthesis in the muscle. A 0.5-0.8 g of carbs per pound of bodyweight 20 minutes after training results in adequate glycogen resynthesis.
Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens are vegetables packed with essential micronutrients and vitamins. They are a healthy part of a balanced diet for all who participate in workouts, including athletes. They provide nutrients like calcium, iron which can help you perform. Calcium in leafy vegetables helps repair muscle tears (which you encounter after exercises) and contributes to bone strength. On the other hand, iron helps with energy consumption and regulation of metabolism.
The best examples of these healthful dark leafy greens include; spinach, kale, collard greens, Arugula, etc.
The last best food in this article for post-workout are fruits. Consuming numerous fruits like grapes, berries, oranges, bananas, dates is an excellent way to replenish yourself after strength exercises. They contain antioxidants(which help the muscles to repair themselves). Besides that, they contain folate, vitamins, and macronutrients such as calcium, potassium, and iron. In addition, fruits also contain natural sugar(fructose), which helps provide energy.