Figuring out the ideal time to recharge after a workout is almost as tough as the workout itself! Here’s a quick guide on refueling after exercising.
When should I refuel after a workout?
There’s nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment you have after completing a hard workout. Or the insatiable hunger you feel immediately after. If you’re like most people, you feel extremely hungry after a workout, which is due to dehydration and decreased blood sugar. The harder your body works, the more glycogen you burn, which then indicates to your stomach that you need to recharge.
According to a recent study by John L Ivy, Chair and Margie Gurley Seay Centennial Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education - University of Texas, you should refuel as quickly as possible after a workout. The study asserts that “...it is important to replenish muscle glycogen stores and initiate muscle tissue repair and adaptation.” Simply put, you need to get healthy carbs and protein into your system as soon as you can after your sweat session.
What should I eat after a workout?
When it comes to the kinds of foods you should eat after exercising, it boils down to these three categories: protein, healthy fats and carbs. At face value, you might think ‘Okay, that makes sense,’ but might not be too sure what these food groups look like, and how they fit into your everyday life. No fear, your post-workout-food-guide is here!
Why is it so important to have protein anyway? The amino acids in protein are what helps your muscles repair themselves after your workout. Lucky for us, there are more protein-rich foods than you might think! A few fan favorites include eggs, greek yogurt, lean beef, and fish. Not sure how to make protein into a meal? Check out these 20 Meals With at Least 20 Grams of Protein.
Typically when we see words like ‘fats’ we think of processed foods in bright, neon lights. Healthy fats, however, are essential to your post-workout meal. Healthy fats help in the process of absorbing important nutrients, and are also an important source of energy. Fats like avocados, walnuts, and olive oil are some delicious yet healthy choices that will fill you right up!
A fact you might remember from middle-school science is that our bodies transform carbs into glucose for energy. The more we exercise, the more energy we use up. The more energy we use up, the more glycogen we need to put back into our systems.
Cue carb consumption! As Shape suggests, it is essential to “restore your body’s energy with complex carbs - meaning fruit, grains, or vegetables paired with protein for muscle repair and growth.” So what’s on the menu? In addition to the food mentioned, here are 12 High-Carb Foods That Are Actually Super Healthy. Cheers to carbs!
Remember, what you put into your body after your workout is very important! Eating properly will help with any muscle soreness, improve your immune function, reduce inflammation and even help build muscle and reduce fat.