Exercising and a good training session generally burns your calories. I have seen people eat the wrong foods after a workout, most of which will make all the calories burnt during the session redundant. So what you should eat after a workout?
I make sure all my clients know that if they are serious about their fitness and nutrition, the post-workout meal should be considered as the most important meal of the day. Understandably there is a lot of confusion going around what with all these nutrition and energy shakes being marketed today.
All I say is that you don’t need any fancy shakes or mixes. You need basic nutrients post workout.
The first thing I tell my clients that they should drink a lot of water. Our body loses a lot of fluid during the workout, and to avoid getting dehydrated, you need to constantly replace the water. Next thing to remember is that no eating fat after a workout. You need to be eating proteins and carbohydrates and not fats. The reason behind this is that fats slow down digestion, and after a workout, if you eat fats, it will obstruct the digestion of the much required proteins and carbs.
So when you’re getting proteins and carbs into you after a workout, try and eat it with 30 mins to an hour (maximum limit).
I often answer the question to why proteins? Simply because proteins help build muscle and you need the protein to help heal the stress and tiny injuries muscles go through during a workout. But what is the kind of protein one should eat? While egg white, chicken etc are good sources, they aren’t the best for a post-workout meal. This is because by the time they are broken down to protein in the body, too much time has passed since the workout. Thus, the best way to take in protein after a workout is to have some kind of whey protein powder mixed with a liquid. This why protein is digested quicker and the protein is immediately available to the body for muscle building purposes.
Along with proteins, you should also have carbs. I assure you they won’t be bad for your weight. Instead, the carbs will be used by the body to restore the glycogen in the muscles. In case you don’t consume carbs, the body might need to breakdown some existing muscle tissue to obtain glycogen. Carbs also give you an insulin raise which assists in quicker nutrient absorption in the muscle tissues. The carbs you should eat post workout are ironically the ones you would avoid otherwise. This means try and eat sugar (dextrose) or simple carbohydrates (as opposed to complex, fiber loaded carbs like whole wheat bread) as they will be digested and absorbed sooner by the body.
David Modderman is a personal trainer Grand Rapids Michigan. David runs “Real Results Fitness” in the West Michigan area. His passion is educating and teaching others how to exercise and eat correctly to get maximal results.