Food consumed in the hours after exercise can weigh heavily on your workout goals. If you find yourself putting away more food than weights post-exercise then it might be time to inhale more oxygen and fewer chips.
Poor food choices after training can lead to increased fatigue and muscle soreness later in the day. This can be tough if you head to work after your session. The body’s immune system is also suppressed for the hours following a workout so you’re at increased risk of picking up lurgies.
The body needs carbohydrate and protein from healthy foods within thirty to sixty minutes of exercise when your body absorbs them best. Eating during this time will also promote the most effective muscle repair and growth. This repair and recovery will continue for the next twelve to twenty-four hours.
If your main goal is to build muscle then eat more protein and include carbohydrate to aid recovery. Snacks like Greek yoghurt; a glass of milk or cheese or tuna on crackers are smart options. Whole-grain cereal with milk or baked beans on whole-grain toast are also excellent choices.
If you’re trying to lose weight or stay in shape then lean carbohydrate should be your focus. Fruit salad is fantastic as it contains carbohydrate; enzymes to assist with muscle recovery and heaps of antioxidants to assist your immunity. Also, choose foods like whole grain wraps, brown rice, beans or pasta.
You may benefit from splitting your recovery intake into two parts depending on the time of day you exercise. A small snack after your workout can be followed by a main meal later to complete your food goals. Use personal preference and your own assessment of the type and intensity of your exercise to guide you.
It’s easy to over compensate for what we think we have earned during a workout. Overeating is a common problem after exercise due to the release of hormones that increase appetite. Watch your portion sizes and drink plenty of water to help fill you up.
Healthy snacks on hand after training are a great way to avoid temptation. Pack a banana, whole-grain crackers or a packet of nuts in your bag so you can chow down on the way home. Avoid highly processed foods and sugary drinks. Juices plunge large amounts of sugar and calories into your system too rapidly.
Whole foods are always preferable to sports drinks, shakes and bars which are often high in sugar and energy. Most people can meet their recovery goals eating regular food and drink. Seek advice from an Accredited Practicing Dietitian if you’re training at an elite level.
Watch those weekend recovery sessions at the bar. Eat first if you know you’ll be drinking to start the recovery process. Alcohol has been shown to increase muscle loss and decrease muscle strength by up to forty percent so practice moderation.
After all that exertion don’t put away the wrong food and your exercise goals. Set up your training plan and work out your food for the ultimate rewards. You are what you eat.