The other day I posted about one of my most asked questions – what (and when) to eat before you work out. Well today, I’ve got another one…
“What should I eat after my workout to get the best results?” What you eat after your workouts matters because your muscles can run low on glycogen (fuel) and need to be refueled.
PLUS, some of the proteins in your muscles can get damaged or broken down … And your food choices can help speed up both the refueling and repair processes.
Eating the right combo of protein and carbs can help:
- Reduce the breakdown of muscle proteins
- Increase growth of muscle proteins
- Restore glycogen (fuel) to your muscles, and
- Improve your recovery.
How much of each (especially carbs) you need depends on what kind of workout you did.
Let’s start with the protein. Some studies have shown that eating 20 to 40 grams of protein after your workout helps you recover faster (more if you’re bigger, less if you’re smaller). From there, you can figure out how many carbs to add – usually between 2 to 3 times as many grams of carbs as protein.
If you did an endurance-oriented workout (like cycling, running, or a cardio class), your muscles might be more depleted of their fuel than if you were lifting weights. That means eating on the higher side of the carb ratio.
But it doesn’t have to be quite that technical! Here are some ideas:
- Oatmeal with 1 scoop protein powder + ½ banana
- Cottage cheese with fruit
- Protein shake with berries or banana
- Chicken or salmon with sweet potato
- Whole grain toast with almond butter
And timing does matter! For ultimate benefit, eat within 45 minutes of your workout. If that’s not possible, eat within 2 hours. I hope this helps clear up any questions or confusion.
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