Exercising is a great way to lose or gain weight or to stay fit. Luckily, the internet is blasting with instructive articles and videos on how to workout properly, from cardio to muscle-building tips; whether you are a beginner or a pro, there is something for you. However, there is an essential point that you should never forget; after practicing, the first thing you need to take care of is your diet to have better results and reach your goal more efficiently.
Start with defining your objective, then follow the recommendations for best nutrients after workouts.
Why is it essential to consider nutrients after workouts?
Most people think about what they eat before exercising, without considering what to eat after.
We need to understand how the human body works before knowing what kind of diet is suitable for our bodies.
While exercising, your body consumes its amount of glycogen, which exhausts your muscles and breaks down the protein. After that, your body starts repairing and rebuilding glycogen amounts, and it also works on filling back your muscles with protein.
Therefore, eating after practice helps your body rebuild, and it is so important to consume both protein and carbs after exercise to help your body with several things, such as:
- Reducing protein breaking down.
- Repairing protein amounts in muscles.
- Rebuilding glycogen amounts.
What kind of nutrients after workouts do you need?
Let us dive into each nutrition element and how to manage your diet accordingly:
Proteins help your body rebuild what’s lost:
Protein breakdown amounts depend on the exercise and your level of training, but even well-trained athletes experience muscle protein breakdown.
Consuming a fair amount of protein after practice gives your body the amino acids it needs to rebuild the lost protein and form new muscular tissue.
Doctors recommend consuming 0.23 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Studies also showed that eating 20 – 40 grams of protein helps your body rebuild after practice.
Carbs help with recovery:
Your body uses glycogen stores as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish them.
The rate at which your body uses glycogen stores depends on the activity. For example, endurance sports cause your body to use more glycogen than resistance training.
Therefore, if you participate in endurance sports (running, swimming, etc.), you might need to consume more Carbs than a bodybuilder.
Consuming 1.5 grams per kilogram within 30 minutes after training helps to rebuild glycogen amounts.
Furthermore, insulin secretion that promotes glycogen synthesis is better stimulated when you consume carbs and protein simultaneously. Therefore, consuming both carbs and protein after exercise can maximize protein and glycogen synthesis.
Try consuming 40 grams of protein and 120 grams of carbs.
Eating lots of carbs to rebuild glycogen stores is most important for people who often exercise, such as twice in the same day. If you have 1 or 2 days to rest between workouts, then this becomes less important.
Fat is not that bad.
Many people think that eating fat after a workout slows down digestion and inhibits the absorption of nutrients. While fat might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal, it will not reduce its benefits.
Studies showed that whole milk was more effective at promoting muscle growth after a workout than skim milk. They also showed that even when ingesting a high-fat meal (45% energy from fat) after working out, muscle glycogen synthesis was not affected.
It might be a good idea to limit the amount of fat you eat after exercise, but having some fat in your post-workout meal will not affect your recovery.
Make sure to drink a lot of water.
It is essential to drink water before and after your workout. When you are properly hydrated, this ensures the optimal internal environment for your body to maximize results.
During exercise, you lose water and electrolytes through sweat. Replenishing these after a workout can help with recovery and performance.
It’s vital to replenish fluids if your next exercise session is within 12 hours.
Meals containing the needed nutrients after workouts:
Your post-workout meal’s primary goal is to rebuild what you lost during practice and maximize the benefits of your workout.
Choosing easily digested foods will promote faster nutrient absorption.
The following lists contain examples of simple and easily digested foods:
- Sweet potatoes
- Chocolate milk
- Fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi)
- Rice cakes
- Dark, leafy green vegetables
- Animal- or plant-based protein powder
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Protein bar
- Nut butter
- Trail mix (dried fruits and nuts)
Examples of post-workout meals
Combinations of the foods listed above can create great meals that provide you with all the nutrients you need after exercise.
Here are a few examples of quick and easy meals to eat after your workout:
- Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables.
- Egg omelet with avocado spread on toast.
- Salmon with sweet potato.
- Tuna salad sandwich on whole-grain bread.
- Tuna and crackers.
- Oatmeal, whey protein, banana, and almonds.
- Cottage cheese and fruits.
- Rice crackers and peanut butter.
- Whole grain toast and almond butter.
- Cereal and skim milk.
- Greek yogurt, berries, and granola.
- Protein shake and banana.
Consuming a proper amount of carbs and protein after exercise is essential. It will stimulate muscle protein synthesis, improve recovery, and enhance performance during your next workout.
Plus, timing is critical. If you’re not able to eat within 45 minutes of working out, it’s crucial not to go much longer than 2 hours before eating a meal. Also, replenishing lost water and electrolytes can complete the picture and maximize your workout’s benefits.
Best nutrients after workouts aimed for weight loss:
Exercise is a vital component of any weight loss regimen and is particularly important for maintaining that weight loss in the long term. However, there is a special diet for that purpose containing certain nutrients. Here are some of the things you can eat after a workout to enhance its weight loss benefits:
- Watermelon: it doesn’t contain lots of calories; also, it has Citrulline, which helps your body produce Nitric Oxide that relieves your muscles pain. Containing 91% water, watermelon can also help you hydrate after a workout.
- Hummus and raw vegetables: hummus is a good source of plant-based protein. Instead of dipping chips in hummus, you can dip other vegetables like carrots and cauliflower.
- Veggie omelet: eggs are rich with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and high-quality protein. Studies show that an egg-containing breakfast can enhance weight loss when combined with a low-calorie diet, making veggie omelet a perfect breakfast choice.
- Banana or apple with peanut butter: the natural carbs in the fruits and the fat from the peanut butter work together to help you recover and control your hunger during the day.
As you can see, it is not only about the exercise itself but also about your diet. Ensure you get adequate nutrients after workouts to boost their benefits and keep your body as healthy as it can be.
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