Want to know what are the best post workout foods you should be eating after you train?
The answers are all here and, believe it or not, they are as important as what you ate before you worked out!
No matter what anybody tells you, nutrition is the most important part to being healthy, having a strong body and gaining muscle. Without proper nutrition intake, your muscles will never grow and training recovery is just long and painful.
Post workout foods are important for this recovery process. Unfortunately, this is one of the most often missed meals of the day. Let’s take a look at best post workout nutrition and what foods you should be consuming.
What Is Post Workout?
People often know about pre-workout foods and supplements because they have been talked about a lot more honestly. Even lean muscle supplements.
Who wouldn’t want to increase their training performance?
But heightened energy is not the only thing you should be worried about if you want to reduce muscle soreness and enable building muscle. This is where post-workout foods come in handy.
Post workout means after your workout. It usually applies to the first one to two hours after intense physical activities. Many studies suggest that post-workout foods should be consumed within an hour. But, there are a few studies that state the two-hour mark is just as effective.
It is vital not only for muscle growth, but also to replenish the energy used up during training. If you don’t know where to start try out a beginner workout routine.
Have you ever felt like you could barely walk after doing squats, even though you did them two days ago? Ever wondered do squats really work?
This is delayed onset muscle soreness at its peak. That happens when post-workout recovery has been neglected.
Unfortunately, you can be a little too late if you wait three or more hours to consume your nutrients. Sure, you can eat nutritious foods to try and make up for the mistake. But, recovery is still going to take longer. Delayed onset muscle soreness is not preventable.
However, you can decrease the effects of it significantly.
What Are The Best Post Workout Foods?
Post-workout foods are used to replace what has been lost during training and to deliver nutrients to damaged muscle fibers. Your muscle fibers become microscopically torn when you train at higher intensities (or intensities higher than you typically exhibit for daily tasks).
When you injure your body what happens is that most of the nutrients you digest get sent to this injured area in higher amounts through your bloodstream. The reason for this is to start repairing your damaged muscle cells.
The nutrient behind this repair process is protein. The other two required for proper recovery are carbs and dietary fats.
Do these nutrients sound familiar?
They should. The reason why is because they are macronutrients. These are the nutrients that your calorie intake is based off of. There’s a lot of information on different muscle building foods.
This Is Why You Need Protein Post Workout
This nutrient is well known for muscle growth benefits.
But, did you know that it is actually needed by every cell in your body so they can all repair and grow?
Protein is vital for human life. That means you have to consume this macro. The reasons are simple.
Want to avoid body aches?
How about fatigue and headaches?
Clearly those aren’t on anyone’s wish lists. But, they could occur with low protein intake. Worse yet, serious medical conditions could arise if your low protein levels continue for any amount of time.
When you think of protein, some obvious foods come to mind. If you guessed meats, poultry, fish and dairy, you’d be correct. You could also get protein from some veggies, oats and legumes. Of course, there are plenty of supplements you could try as well. They could come in the form of powders or ready to made drinks.
Muscle growth happens when the protein gets sent to your cells. Your damaged muscle fibers become repaired.
You also gain the advantage of a reduction in fatigue and a growth cycle leaving fuller muscle behind. Needless to say, lean protein sources are the better choice unless you are trying to build a lot of muscle mass.
Post Workout: You Need Carbohydrates
We’ve all heard a lot about carbs. And, there’s good reason for that. If your goal is to build lean muscle then focus on how to get lean, but you really can’t be consuming foods full of sugar and artificial fillers. It just won’t work!
Carbs are sugar. They come in either glucose or fructose (fruit sugar) form. They are mainly stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver.
What is glycogen?
It is something that gets used by your body’s metabolism as a source of energy. This energy source is vital when you’re doing physical things like working out. If your storage of glycogen is full and you consume more carbs, you’re making a mistake.
It’ll get stored as fat.
The type of carbs you should consume are complex carbs. These are the carbs that are the best ones to consume. They allow proper energy production for heavy lifts, and they also replenish your muscles post workout. Complex carbs usually offer plenty of dietary fiber as well.
You may be even more surprised to learn that your body can’t digest it. But, that’s not a bad thing.
What happens is that your body stays feeling fuller longer. And, that’s good because it helps you from caving into cravings and helps you burn more calories. In other words, fiber is your friend.
This Is Why You Need Dietary Fats After Your Workout
Fat is only a three-letter word. But, that little word packs a lot power. Many are afraid of it. It’s time to change that dated approach.
Fats are your secondary source of energy. They come right after glycogen storages have been used up. Not only that, fats are what protect our organs from being damaged. If that weren’t enough, fat is also an essential component to the production of hormones.
Post workout you need dietary fats. They stimulate anabolic hormones for better muscle recovery and growth.
Unfortunately, in spite of their importance for the production of hormones, saturated fats get a bad rap. The reason is simple. Old research found that eating too much of it caused bad cholesterol (LDL) build ups. Forget that old research.
Current research shows that it actually decreases LDL and increases HDL (good cholesterol). It also shows that people who ate a lot of saturated fats with little carb intake experienced no LDL spikes at all.
Apparently saturated fat combined with simple carbs seems to boost negative effects.
These Are Some of The Best Post Workout Foods That Are Quickly Digested
Post workout means you want the nutrients to make their way into your bloodstream as fast as they can.
What follows is a list of great choices that have nutritious amounts of protein, carbs and dietary fats to fuel your body for recovery and growth.
#1 White Bagel with Two Egg Whites
This is one of the most popular whole food items that people consume post workout. White bagels have plenty of fast digesting sugar that gets into your cells rapidly.
The egg whites have plenty of clean protein content along with good fats.
You can choose to keep one or both egg yolks depending on your needs for good cholesterol. However, if you stick to egg whites, don’t always cut out the yolks. Instead, try to only eat this meal on days that you’ve already eaten a whole egg. If you find that you’ve lost a lot of water in the day, add some salt. There are many simple ways on how to lose water weight.
#2 Sweet Potatoes
As mentioned, when it comes to post workout, it’s not just about protein. If you want your muscles to recover faster and be ready for the next training day, then you need to consume carbs as well.
The sweet potato is a nutritious superfood. It is packed full of carbs and micronutrients to help stimulate recovery and keep your body going.
You could easily microwave a sweet potato and then consume it with your whey protein.
The important thing to remember is you want both protein and carbs together and not just one or the other.
#3 Canned Tuna with Mayo
Tuna has plenty of protein and omega-3 fatty acids to keep your body in top shape.
Tuna was even vital for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s diet when he would blend tuna and drink it raw with eggs. However, you do not need to be this hardcore with your post-workout meal. Mayo adds flavor to your tuna and provides more nutrients to help boost muscle production.
You can easily pair this with some crackers to ensure you get the protein with carbs. Some people even spread this mix across whole pickles to give it a new twist.
Remember, tuna does have very small amounts of mercury, which is not good for your body. But, you have to eat a whole lot of canned tuna to be at risk of mercury poisoning. If possible, avoid consuming two or more cans daily.
#4 Cherry Juice
This may sound a bit odd, but you should be aware of the possible benefits from this type of juice. Being a fruit juice, this is a great choice for carb intake post workout.
Cherry juice has been found to fight off muscle damage because of its antioxidant abilities that help to prevent inflammation.
You could drink a glass of cherry juice alongside a nice steak or handful of beef jerky. Another good idea would be to take your whey protein and blend it with the cherry juice.
#5 Whole or Low-Fat Milk
Whey protein isolate supplements derive from milk, so it is no wonder why this would be a good and cheap post-workout food. There really is not much difference between whole milk and low-fat milk aside from the saturated fat content and calories.
A lot of people actually drink chocolate milk post workout to get an abundance of all three macronutrients in one tasty drink.
#6 100% Whey Protein Isolate (Supplement)
If there is a supplement you may want to consider for post workout, then it is 100% whey protein isolate. You want fast digesting protein that is of high quality and has no extra filler.
You want to look for 100% whey protein supplements. But, you only need to buy these supplements if you can’t make your macro intake through whole foods only.
Note that protein supplements do not build muscle and are not some type of an anabolic stimulator. Protein supplements only support the repair and growth of muscles.
Unfortunately, you have to still train hard to get the gains you seek.
#8 The Best Post Workout Shake
Why sit there and eat a bunch of food when you are tired?
You can throw ingredients into a blender and just get the post-workout meal out of the way. All you need is whey protein, cherry juice, a handful of oats and a pinch of flaxseed meal.
With that, you have the ingredients needed to provide the protein for repair and growth. The carbs replenish the energy lost. Then the fats are there to keep anabolic hormone production naturally heightened.
Blend them all up and enjoy!
We get it. You want to train hard and develop an amazing physique and you will do whatever it takes to accomplish this goal. If so, a proper post-workout meal soon after your training session is vital.
Remember, you want foods that digest fast to enter your bloodstream quickly.
Protein supplementation is good, but it is imperative for you to not totally rely solely on supplements for your nutrient intake. They should only be used to assist with your diet. You should consume foods high in nutrients.
Doing so will ensure you develop not only a better body, but also a healthier lifestyle. And, at the end of the day, being healthy is what it’s really all about.
By Brian Pankau, CPT