Post-Workout Meals: Why & When you Should Eat After Exercising
In the fitness world today, there’s a lot of talk about meal timing. You can stop eating after 7 pm, only eat during a 6-hour eating window, eat smaller meals throughout the entire day, and the list goes on.
Despite the many conflicting schools of thought for when you should eat your food, there is a general consensus that you should eat after working out. The post-workout meal is one of the most important things you should stick to. In this article, we will be going over some of the basics of post-workout meals.
Why Should you Eat a Post-Workout Meal?
Post-workout meals promote growth, speed up progress, and make your recovery more effective. When you work out, you deplete your glycogen levels and break down muscles in your body. In order to replenish your body with glycogen and protein, you need to eat nutrient-rich foods. Some glycogen-rich foods include crackers, bread, and oatmeal.
You may have noticed that after a workout, you feel tired and lethargic. Eating carbs will increase your energy levels and restore your body to its normal state. And for the soreness? Protein will make your body recover faster, allowing you to work out sooner and become stronger. Overall, people who consume protein reach their fitness goals faster. Some protein-rich foods include fish, nuts, and beans.
When Should you Eat a Post-Workout Meal?
Post-workout meals should be eaten, well, after working out! However, there are a lot of factors that can play surprising roles in the timing of your post-workout meal. A rule of thumb is to eat within 45 minutes of working out. If you ate before working out, then you should stick to eating within two hours of your workout.
But, what if you work out in the morning, right before work? Often, early birds don’t have the time to squeeze in an entire meal before commuting to the office. If the timing doesn’t work out in your favor, don’t worry because there are solutions. One thing you can do in a pinch is prepare your post-workout meal the night before. That way, once you’re done exercising, you can simply eat and go. Another thing you can do is make a post-workout shake that you can take to work or school.
What are Some Examples of Post-Workout Meals?
There are a lot of post-workout meals you can choose from. It’s fun to play with food combinations and find what you like best. Let’s get into some different post-workout meals.
Dinner at Home: Grilled Chicken and Roasted Vegetables
Grilled chicken is a classic for any meal. If you work out in the evening, you will most likely have the time to prepare a tasty chicken and some vegetables on the side. A healthy grilled chicken should be lightly flavored with salt, pepper, and lemon. Grilled chicken is an excellent choice because it is packed with protein and takes relatively little time to prepare.
For the roasted vegetables, you can choose broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans, or any other veggie you like. Roasted vegetables are full of essential vitamins. If you keep an eye on how much oil you add, these are a fantastic choice.
On the Go: Protein Shake
As we mentioned before, sometimes you just don’t have the time for a proper post-meal workout. Protein shakes shouldn’t be a permanent replacement for meals, but in a pinch, they can make a great substitute. You can find protein shakes that are pre-mixed, powder versions where you add your own liquid, or you can make one from scratch – like this Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Shake from Men’s Health.
Post-workout meals are a must to maximize your workouts and see results faster. No matter your food preferences and amount of time, anyone can squeeze in a satisfying meal.
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