Contributed by – Healthians team
Exercising or working out every day is an essential part of a healthy and fit body. A daily workout can help you lose weight, sleep better, and even improve your sex life! However, exercise is only one part of the equation, nutrition is the other part that makes it complete. While all meals and snacks of the day are important, you definitely need to give extra attention to what to eat after a workout. No matter how intense a workout you are doing, you have to be mindful when it comes to eating food post-workout. In fact, more the intensity of your workout, more should be the nutrients in your post-workout meal.
If you’re wondering what are the best foods to eat after a workout, then you are at the right place. Here, we will tell you about some of the best foods to eat after a workout. But before that, let’s first understand why should you eat after an intense exercise routine.
Why is it important to eat after a workout?
When you exercise your muscles use stored glucose, called glycogen, as an energy resource and levels of the same are depleted by the time you are done with your routine. Endurance sports such as running may use more glycogen than resistance activities like weight lifting. Besides, muscles develop small tears as an effect of exercise.
The right nutritional balance after exercise would help you in restoring energy levels thereby reducing fatigue and would help your body repair the muscles and prepare you for upcoming exercises. Proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats are what you should eat after a workout to help in a quick recovery.
Proteins are the building blocks for the muscles in your body. As you know, your muscles develop tears when you exercise and the rate at which this happens depends on the type and level of your exercise, consuming adequate amounts of protein can aid the repair and recovery of these muscles.
Some of the protein-rich foods are:
- cottage cheese
- Chicken breast
As discussed earlier, your body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel when you exercise. Here, carbs come into play to replenish this store. The rate at which the levels of glycogen store drops depends on the type of workout you do. So, if you are a runner or swimmer, you may need more carbs than a bodybuilder. Try having both carbs and protein together in your meal after exercise. You can have them in a ration of 3:1(carbs and protein). For example, 120 grams of carbs and 40 grams of proteins.
Some of the carbohydrate-rich foods are:
- sweet potatoes
Foods containing fat are not always bad for you. Most people believe that eating fat after a workout slows down the digestion process which hinders the absorption of nutrients. But that’s not true every time and you should definitely not ignore them completely. Eating high protein and high carbohydrate foods that also contain fat is a great way to have variety in your meal. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it.
Some of the foods rich in healthy fat are:
- Dark chocolate
- Whole eggs
- Fatty fish
- Chia seeds
Finally, don’t forget to hydrate. Dehydration is common after exercise and you would not want to put yourself in that condition. So, try to stay hydrated during your workout but make sure to increase your fluid intake post-workout. And in case you sweat a lot and feel dizzy and fatigued, you may also need to consume some electrolytes.
You should never eat mindlessly, especially when it comes to eating after a workout. As long as you have a good mix of nutrients in your post-workout meal, you are good to go.
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