The post workout meal is one of the more important meals of the day, along with the pre workout meal and breakfast. It is an essential meal for the exercise enthusiast who is interested in body building, toning or weight loss, or who just wants to be well-nourished.
Not surprisingly, there are numerous recommendations for putting together the best possible post workout meal. Unfortunately, some of these actually contradict each other. Hence it can be a headache trying to figure out which recommendations work best for you.
Today we’re here to help you determine what the best way to nourish your body after a workout is. Read on for our step-by-step recommendations:
1. Learn about your needs
You must realize that there are never one-size-fits all recommendations when it comes to healthy living. Nutrition falls under this umbrella. Different people will inevitably have different nutritional needs.
The man or woman who wants to bulk up by putting on more muscle will have different needs from the one who wants to remain lean. In addition, depending on an individual’s health status and such factors as allergies, he or she may or may not be able to eat certain foods or drink certain beverages.
For all these reasons, it is important for you to learn, first and foremost, what is most ideal for your body. Make sure your workout regime is right for you and learn what the complementary food plan for that routine and for your body is.
2. Plan your meals
Plan your meals ahead of time. If you don’t actually set the time aside to decide what you will eat and to prepare it, chances are that after you workout you will skip this important meal. You might end up deciding that you can’t be bothered with the effort of preparing a meal., or you might choose to grab an unhealthy snack instead.
The consequences of such decisions vary. They may undermine your ultimate workout goals. Perhaps more importantly, you may be setting yourself up for fatigue and ill-health, both of which result when one’s diet does not meet the body’s needs.
3. Timing is everything
The best time to eat your post workout meal is shortly after your workout session. This is the time during which your body is most receptive to the nutrients and will derive the maximum benefit from them. Eating the meal within thirty minutes of the workout’s end is ideal.
You must rehydrate after your workout. You are likely to have lost much water and electrolytes in the process of exercising. Drinking water (about two glasses) afterward is important. A good source of lost electrolytes is natural fruit or natural fruit juice.
5. Easy digestibility of food
Because the point of the post workout meal is to get nutrients to the body’s tissues during the optimal period immediately after the workout, the food has to be easily digestible. In other words, this is not the time to be eating a heavy meal that will send you to sleep. Some suggest a glass of milk at this point, but milk typically requires extra effort to digest. Additionally, the lactose intolerant would not derive much benefit from such a suggestion.
6. Ideal foods
It is important for the meal to include a variety of carbohydrates, including high glycemic index carbohydrates and low glycemic index carbohydrates. Protein is also necessary, as is some healthy fat. Good examples of carbohydrate foods are dates, bananas, potatoes and raisins. Ideal protein sources include whey protein shakes.
Those who cannot use whey should consider alternatives such as plant protein powders (e.g. hemp protein powder or a blend of brown rice and yellow pea protein powders). Some consider a hardboiled egg just as effective. Nuts are also a healthy source of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Flaxseed oil, hemp oil and olive oil are good sources of fat. They may be drizzled over another food item or stirred into a drink (according to taste).
Vegetables are great foods with which to top off the post workout meal. Along with fruits, they help to neutralize the acidity that results from sustained workout respiration . Additionally, they give the body a boost of minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.