As a fitness professional and sports nutritionist, what never fails to intrigue is the fact that I’ve always found it strange why people don’t give much thought to what they put in their bodies after they have finished their workout…which is a real pity.
Just think about it using another analogy – these same people will go to great lengths to make sure their car gets its fill of the right type of petrol fuel for their cars and do the regular oil maintenance check every couple of thousand miles.
Yet ironically, when it comes to their own bodies, most never give a second thought to what they fuel it with! This is so sad.
If you don’t nourish the holy temple that is your body, then how do you expect it to produce good results in terms of muscle growth? Especially after an intense workout.
Ask yourself what’s the point of exercising so hard, huffing and puffing away even for some, if you’re not going to provide your body with the proper nutrition so you achieve optimal results?
Do not worry if you are still unsure of what to eat as I have done your homework for you by listing the essentials that you will need to incorporate into your post workout meal.
Drink plenty of water and be well hydrated before, during, and after each exercise bout to maximise performance and ensure an optimal hormonal response. It doesn’t take rocket science for you to remember you just perspired after that intense workout and probably am now wearing a sweat soaked T-shirt now.
As the word suggests, proteins are the building blocks and are responsible for all the repair works that take place inside our body. In short, proteins help us repair the muscle fibers which we have torn earlier during the workout, thus making them stronger and ready for the next ‘shock’.
Omit your proteins and your muscles will be in a constant breakdown state. Personally, I would choose liquid proteins (think protein shake) over solid proteins (from food) as liquid calories are more convenient and allow you to optimize your post-workout window (which should be 30 minutes from the end of your workout).
Yes, much as the word has now been banished from some people’s vocabulary (all thanks to the Atkins Diet et al), you really still need carbohydrates after your workout.
Carbohydrates will be used by your body to restore muscle glycogen. Should your post workout meal leave out carbohydrates, your body may then break down muscle tissue for this same purpose instead…which is not your sole aim, is it?
According to research done by scientists, the best ratio of carbohydrates to proteins is 2:1. This means for every 2 or more grams of carbs, you should also take in 1 gram of complete protein containing essential amino acids. This ratio has been shown to be best or maximizing glycogen replenishment in addition to stimulating protein repair.
Forget about ingesting any fats post-workout. Fats slow down the carbohydrate and protein absorption, and minimize the anabolic effects of insulin.
So now that you know the importance of the ingredients that make up a great post-workout meal, here’s why eating the right foods after your workout is a must as they will:
– Properly refuel your muscle glycogen levels
– Repair of your damaged muscle protein
– Keep your blood glucose levels steady
– Strengthen your immune system
– Balance your body water level
– Increase fat loss and muscle growth
Click below to view some of 3 of my personal all-time favourite post-workout meals.
2. Chicken Breast Meat, Brown Rice & Spinach
3. Chicken Breast Kway Teow Soup