Don’t let your hours at the gym go to waste by cuddling up to the juice bar or sipping down a chalky supplement drink on your way out the door. What you choose to eat after a hard workout could mean the difference between zero gains or a quick recovery to get back in motion.
Post workout nutrition is important for all exercisers, not just professional athletes. If you are engaged in moderate to intense exercise, nutrition needs to take a front seat to keep you exercising at peak performance.
What are the basics of recovery nutrition? There are a few important points.
- The fuel, or energy, that your body uses during exercise is called glycogen. This comes from the muscle. Replacing muscle glycogen is the number one goal of post workout nutrition.
- When the body is engaged in exercise, muscle can be damaged. Protein provides the amino acids to repair and rebuild damaged muscle.
- Hydration. Water is best for activities less than 1 hour. For strenuous exercise lasting 60 minutes or longer, drink something that contains carbohydrate.
When looking for a post workout snack, keep it at a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein
Eat your recovery snack within 15-20 minutes of ending your exercise to gain the full benefits of refueling your body.
Those are the basics, now, what should you eat? Here are my top 5 choices for recovery snacks
- Banana and peanut butter
- Smoothie made with milk, almonds and strawberries
- Fruit and Greek yogurt
- Lean turkey and whole wheat crackers
- Chocolate milk
NUTS.com has a great graphic for some post-workout snacks ideas.
AND some amazing resources for healthy snacks – check it out!
Keep your post workout snacks healthy. You can’t outrun a bad diet, so stick to the good stuff and keep working hard.
*nuts.com asked me to write a post about workout recovery nutrition on their behalf. I thought it was a splendid idea!