What should we eat after a workout?
To help our body recuperate from the workout, we need to change the metabolic state from catabolic to anabolic. By eating the right types of food we can influence the hormonal balance of the body and allow the desired changes to occur. A fresh supply of carbs, proteins and some fats post workout will help the body renew the damaged tissues and fill up its energy stores.
When we finish our exercise, we have a "window of opportunity" to eat carbs and store them in our muscles as glycogen. When we train next, this storage will be used to create instant energy for our muscles.
People who exercise on a regular basis, will store the carbs where they are needed, in the muscles. Their body will not store them in the fatty cells, which normally happens in people that are not as active.
In order to restore glycogen storage after the workout you will need to consume approximately 0.7-1.0g carbs per kilo.
During our workout the proteins in our muscles breakdown. In order to help our body recuperate from the workout and prepare it for the next workout session we need to nourish it with some proteins as fast as possible. In fact, we have a "window of opportunity" of one or two hours, from the time we finished our workout, to eat some proteins.
The recommended protein intake per day is 1.6-1.8g per 1 kilo. Remember that our body can't store amino acids properly, which is why we need to eat proteins every 3-4 hours.
Furthermore, it is imperative to know that not all the proteins are digested at the same pace.
The ones that break down in the fastest way are casein protein powders, whey protein powders, soy protein powders and low fat dairy products (Max 3% fat).
- Next are the white cheeses, cottage cheese, eggs, soy products and canned tuna.
- The slow ones are the chicken, meat, fish, and fatty cheeses.
A good post workout meal should include the proteins that break down faster, so that they could be utilised properly for building muscles.
On top of that, as we know carbs need the insulin hormone to enter the cells, but did you know that proteins would benefit from the presence of some insulin in the blood? Insulin presence will increase the ability of proteins to enter the muscle cells. So a good post workout meal will include proteins and carbs. Without carbs the insulin will not be secreted from the pancreas.
Good combinations for a post workout meal are:
1. Cottage cheese and an apple.
2. Protein shake (1 scoop) with Almond milk some berries and chia seeds.
3. Tuna sandwich and salad.
4. Yogurt with berries and some chia seeds and pumpkin seeds.
5. Vegetable salad, eggs, cheese and whole meal bread.
6. Stir fry vegetables with tofu and brown rice.
7. Vegetable soup with some quinoa and chickpeas.