A common question we get asked at TBC is, “What should I eat to fuel my workouts?” We addressed this question in our previous post on 3 Tips to Fuel Your Intense Workouts, but what we rarely get asked is another question, which is equally as important, and that question is, “What should I eat AFTER my workout?” After a workout, your muscles are broken down. The repair process of these broken down muscles is actually what makes you stronger, adds mass, and helps to tone and define your muscular structure. Now, a lot of people see this as the perfect time to go grab a massive bacon cheeseburger and some fries since you just burned a lot of calories, but that may not be the best option if your fitness goals include toning or building muscle. Here are some healthier options, depending on your desired result, to make sure that your body has the best building blocks for maximal effect.
Nutrient Breakdown & Timing Post-Workout
If you are looking to build muscle or tone, it all comes down to protein and carbohydrates – how quickly you eat them and in what ratios depending on what you are trying to accomplish. During your workout your body uses stored glycogen for energy first, and then begins utilizing anything you ate pre-workout. After your workout you need to replenish those nutrients and provide your muscles protein to start rebuilding. Think of carbohydrates as the fuel for your engine, and filling up the tank after your workout gives the body what it needs to use that protein to build muscle. For optimal muscle growth, you will want to eat 25-30 grams of protein with approximately the same amount of carbs within 30-60 minutes post-workout. Some of our favorites are:
Post-Workout Option #1: Protein Shakes with Fresh Fruit and Oats
This is the easiest and most readily available option for a lot of people. You can pack in quite a bit of protein and it is in a format that our bodies can readily digest, so it cn start repairing those muscle fibers quickly. Greek yogurt and/or protein powder for protein, fresh fruit, spinach, and even oats for carbs come together to make a delicious shake.
Post-Workout Option #2: Greek Yogurt with Fruit
Greek yogurt has nearly double the protein as conventional yogurt, and is incredibly creamy and delicious. It also has the proper amount of corresponding carbs allowing you to meet both goals with one item. You can combine this with fresh fruit like raspberries for additional carbs and an extra kick of micronutrients that could aid in clearing up muscle soreness.
Post-Workout Option #3: Sandwich Wraps
Wraps are an excellent balance of carbohydrates and protein, and the best part is, they are portable. This is the perfect post workout snack for those with busy schedules. If you decide to work out on your lunch break, bring a wrap and snack on the way back to the office. The wrap itself and your veggies take care of your needed carbohydrates, and add turkey, chicken, tuna, bacon, or any other protein of your choosing to hit your protein goals.
Post-Workout Option #4: Egg Scramble
Eggs are another incredibly versatile protein-packed option for after your workout. Eggs are loaded with protein and you can mix them with almost anything to meet your carbohydrte goal as well. Try scrambling some eggs with some ground turkey (for more protein) and add shredded sweet potato, peppers, and onions for your carbs. You can also swap out the lunchtime wrap for one loaded with eggs and turkey sausage if you are more of a breakfast lover.
Post-Workout Option #5: Protein Pancakes
Nothing feels more indulgent than a stack of pancakes in the morning, so adapt them for your post-workout fix by making them protein-packed. There are endless ways to do this, even premade mixes you can buy. You can also find recipes for protein pancakes that utilize the protein powder you may already have in the cupboards. Adding some sliced strawberries, bananas, or oatmel will give you the carbohydrates you need and some additional micronutrients.
These are just a few examples of great food options to eat post-workout and some of our personal favorites. A simple rule of thumb is to make sure you eat within the time window above and make healthy choices! We would absolutely love to hear about some of your favorite post-workout recipes, so please make sure you share them with us on social media.