By – Azhar Ali Sayed, Holistic Health coach, Author of “Eat your cake, lose your weight.”
A lot of thought and effort goes into planning a workout and diet to help you reach your desired goals. Most of us are often concerned only about what is to be consumed before workout but we don’t realise that what we eat post exercise is just as important.
When we exercise, our muscle’s glycogen stores get depleted which is the body’s preferred fuel source during high-intensity bouts of workout. Our muscle tissues also go through a lot of wear and tear during workouts which leads to muscle protein breakdown. Hence to replenish the energy stores post workout it is important to eat the right combination of foods which will help you make the most of your workouts.
Protein and carbohydrates are the two main macronutrients which help facilitate post workout recovery. This is because Exercise causes muscle protein breakdown. The rate at which this occurs is determined by the type and intensity of training. Consuming enough protein provides our body with the essential amino acids it requires to repair and rebuild these proteins. If your goal is muscle gain then these amino acids provide building blocks which help in creating new muscle tissue.
However, it is recommended that you consume first class protein in all meals which are well distributed throughout the day as this will help in better absorption and assimilation. Some examples of good quality proteins are whey protein, Eggs, Chicken,Fish, Soy protein, Tofu and Hemp seeds. It becomes necessary to consume a protein rich meal post workout if you are not able to meet your protein requirements throughout the day to prevent muscle loss. As far as carbohydrates are concerned they have a protein sparing action which means that they spare dietary protein from being used as an energy source and perform their main function which is to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Moderate to High GI carbs are preferred for consumption post workout, some examples are Fruits, rice cakes, sweet potatoes, whole grain bread, oats etc.
Below are some post workout Meal options that you can consider for your next workout session: –
Here are a few examples of quick and easy meals to eat after your workout:
1. Egg & cheese sandwich
2. Grilled chicken with rice and stir fry vegetables
3. Scrambled eggs with multigrain toast
4. Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread
5. Whey protein shake with Apple
6. Greek yogurt with some granola
7. Boiled Eggs with a Fruit
8. Whey protein with oats
9. Grilled paneer with rice and stir fry vegetables
10. Greek yogurt with fruits
11. Soy protein with Fruit
12. Tofu scramble with Multigrain toast
Post-workout Rehydration is another aspect that cannot be overlooked. It is important to consume plenty of water post-workout because sweating during a workout increases water and electrolyte loss. Replenishing these after exercise can aid in recovery and performance in subsequent workouts. You can decide between plain water or an electrolyte drink based on the type and intensity of your workout.
Some examples of electrolyte drinks are salted lemonade, sports drinks, honey water with lime or simply coconut water.