You have just finished an intense workout at the gym and on getting home, you start wondering what to eat after a workout at the gym.
With the natural hunger that physical exercise stimulates, it is important to know what to eat afterwards, so that all your hardwork and training will not be in vain. The type of balance food you eat will determine the degree of success of the workout results.
There are nutrition specialist who are gifted in determining what kind of food you need to consume to achieve a specific fitness training result or goal.
How to increase muscle mass
When it comes to asking the generic question – how do I increase my muscle mass? You first need to determine if your goal is to reduce your body fat or to increase your muscle mass. If you are wondering if both can be achieved at the same time, Yes they both can be accomplished at the same time, but that means your approach will defer and that would involve not just a planned workout routine but also a varied and balanced diet will be essential.
Now let’s take a look at some of the essential recommendations for achieving this:
- You need to drink more water to recover the fluids lost during your fitness workout.
- Eat at least one source of protein at each meal.
- Never embark on any sports activity on an empty stomach, so avoid depleting the body’s natural reserves.
- Space your main meal, at least 3-4 hours apart, in relations to sports best practice
- Always best practice having protein and carbs intake in your body at least 1-4 hours before the workout. You can include vegetables and salads as well.
- Avoid overcooked rice as it can, however, pose health which includes depletion in nutrient and the possible increase in cancer risk.
What meals to eat after a workout?
Proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates are essential to rebuilding the body’s glycogen and repairing your muscle proteins after intense workout. Eating meals containing these elements immediately after a workout is crucial for recovery and maximize the benefits of your workout.
- Discussions are surrounding, not including fat in your post-workout meal, as this may slow down protein absorption. While this may be true, studies do show that drinking whole milk promotes muscle growth more effectively than skimmed milk which has less fat – see Whole vs Skim Milk for Bodybuilders.
- Include food rich in carbohydrates such as fruits, juice, yoghurts etc. in your meal. Eating plenty of carbs will help to rebuild muscle glycogen. Glycogen helps to fuel our muscles during workout.
- Chocolate milk, cereal bars (unsweetened) and foods containing eggs are other tempting suggestions for a meal immediately after exercise.
- Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables is another combination to eat.
- You can also try out fish recipes such as Salmon with sweet potato, Tuna salad sandwich on whole-grain bread, Tuna and crackers.
- To summarize this:
- For Carbs: Oatmeal, Sweet potatoes, Pineapple, Quinoa, Bananas, Kiwi and many more.
- For Proteins: Start with Eggs, Tuna, Paneer, Greek yoghurt
What meals to avoid eating after a workout?
While we have looked at what kinds of food to eat after a workout, it’s also important we look at what types of food we should avoid after a workout. There is a specific type of food that would compromise your fitness efforts; hence there is a need to mention below foods we need to stay away from after exercise training:
- Alcoholic beverages – Drinking booze is a no-no as it will dehydrate you as well as reduce your protein synthesis.
- Red meat – This is more to do with research and studies conducted. According to a post on Harvard Health Publishing website, “Although the results vary, studies from around the world have suggested that a high consumption of meat is linked to an increased risk of colon cancer.”
- Sports drinks – Sport drinks contain high amount of sugar which will cause your blood sugar to increase. This you do not need.
- Coffee – Coffee is good for pre-workout but not necessarily for post-workout. Coffee can dehydrate your body and also affect your sleep or rest period.
- Cereal bars with sugars – I know cereal bars like chocolate are irresistible but if you are serious about your fitness aspiration then you need to stay away from them bars.
- Fried foods / Fast food – Stay away from fast food as they are classed as junk food due to their high content of fats
- Sugary products – Consuming food with high sugar will only slow down your metabolism. So avoid them.
Why do we need to eat after workout?
Before concluding, let’s understand the 3 R’s reasons why we need to eat after a workout routine.
- Repair: First, we need to eat a protein rich meal to help repair the muscles over time.
- Replenish – When we workout, the glycogen stores get drained. We also lose electrolytes and fluids through our sweat. We need to replenish all of these.
- Restore – We need a period of restoration, so our body is ready for the next intense workout.
FAQs on what to eat after a work
Is it OK to workout on an empty stomach?
Now there are two sides to this question. If you exercise on an empty stomach, your body will rely on fat stores in your body, which on the plus side is good since you will burn fat quicker. On the flip side, working out on an empty stomach will mean performing less intense routines, but if you intend to achieve your goal quicker, then you must fuel your body well before the workout.
Is banana good after workout?
Banana does have several nutritional values, and that includes carbs and potassium, the two muscle-friendly nutrients. Studies also indicate that banana helps to replenish the glycogen that is depleted in muscles during a workout routine.
What are the eight foods that burn belly fat?
Based on research, these are the eight foods that would help burn belly fat:
- Greek Yogurt
- Green Tea
- Raw Vegetables
- Pears and Apples
- Skim Milk