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Just had an awesome workout and don’t know what to eat to refuel your body? Well, refueling can actually make or break your workout. According to the American Heart Association, Riska Platt, M.S., R.D., and nutrition consultant at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, says, “Know that what you put in your body (nutrition) is as important as you what you do with your body (exercise).”

Whether your goals involve losing weight or gaining muscle, replenishing the nutrients you lose through sweat is crucial. Men’s Fitness reports that there is a 45-minute window after you workout where your body is the most responsive with absorbing carbohydrates and protein. Fluids, carbs, and proteins are exactly what your body needs after any type of workout.

 So, why exactly do we need to eat after workouts? Our bodies need to replenish low stores of glycogen, electrolytes, and fluids. According to Popsugar, we can “repair damaged muscle tissue and build new tissue for a toned, strong body” by eating the proper foods.

With that being said, here are five foods to keep in mind for your next grueling workout session.

1. Whey (or another form of protein powder)

Whey protein is great to eat after a workout

 Unless you are vegan, whey is an incredible source of protein. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to enjoy protein powder either. Contrary to popular belief, protein powder won’t bulk you up. One scoop of powder contains just as much protein as a whole chicken breast, says GQ. Also, research shows that people who use whey as a supplement burn twice as much body fat while building muscle. Toss it in a smoothie or even water to enhance your workout.

Other protein powders can come from hemp, soy, brown rice, or casein. Depending on specific dietary concerns or even stomach trouble from dairy-based powders, there are plenty of options that deliver virtually the same results.

Sweet potatoes are the perfect post-workout snack

Not just for Thanksgiving meals anymore, sweet potatoes are touted as one of the healthiest foods on the planet. This is a good-for-you carb that can supplement your protein and replenish essential vitamins such as vitamin A and fiber. Sweet potatoes are perfectly paired with lean meats like turkey and chicken for a wholesome post-workout meal.

3. Avocado

Avocados can help prevent muscle cramping | iStock.com

Avocados are incredibly high in potassium, which is crucial for all of our organs, says Men’s Fitness. In fact, half of an avocado contains 488 milligrams of potassium, which can help prevent muscle cramping post workout. A study from Loma Linda University found that people who ate half an avocado at lunch were 40 percent less hungry three hours later. So, spread some avocado on toast, toss it in a salad, or eat plain with pepper and lemon juice for a muscle-satisfying snack.

4. Jerky

Jerky is a high-protein snack that’s perfect for after your workout

If this isn’t an excuse to chow down on your favorite jerky, we don’t know what is. If you don’t have time to fit in some good protein after a workout, jerky is an awesome on-the-go snack. Look for brands that are sodium nitrite-free. You don’t have to give up your favorite meat-based snacks even if you’re on a determined weight-loss or fitness regimen.

 5. Eggs

Eating eggs will benefit your muscles greatly

Eggs are pretty much one of the greatest and most accessible health foods out there. Eggs have 6.3 grams of protein and only 70 calories per egg, says Buzzfeed. The benefit of eggs is that you can cook them any way you like and garnish with healthy carbs like cherry tomatoes, avocado, or any vegetable you can think of. Eggs also naturally contain vitamin D and plenty of B vitamins. Scrambled, sunny-side up, or poached, you should eat your eggs post-workout.

Even something small, like a handful of nuts or blueberries or a glass of orange juice, goes a long way after a workout. Refuel properly so you don’t let all your hard work at the gym go to waste.

 

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