A lot goes into planning a workout to help you achieve your goals. As part of that effort, you probably put a lot of thought into your pre-workout meal. But are you as concerned with your post-workout meal? If you haven’t already, you should. What you eat after you exercise is just as important as what you eat before you exercise.

When you exercise, your muscles deplete the glycogen, the body’s preferred fuel source, particularly during high-intensity workouts. As a result, the stored glycogen in your muscles are depleted. Some proteins in your muscles can be damaged and broken down as well. Following a workout, your body attempts to replenish glycogen stores while also repairing and regrow muscle proteins. Eating the right nutrients soon after exercise can help your body finish this task faster. It is especially important to consume carbohydrates and protein following a workout.

Your post-workout meal’s main goal is to provide your body with the nutrients it requires for proper recovery and to maximise the benefits of your workout. Choosing easily digestible foods promotes quicker nutrient absorption.

The power of Protein:

Exercise causes muscle protein breakdown. The rate of breakdown varies depending on the exercise and your level of training, but even well-trained athletes experience muscle protein breakdown. This is why the consumption of protein is very vital for anyone involved in muscle building. 

After a workout, eating enough protein provides your body with the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also provides the building blocks for the formation of new muscle tissue. It also provides the building blocks needed to create new muscle tissue. It is advised to consume 0.3–0.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight  following a workout. . Following are some protein foods that can be your post-meal workout plan. 

  • animal- or plant-based protein powder
  • eggs
  • Greek yoghurt
  • cottage cheese
  • salmon
  • chicken
  • protein bar
  • tuna

As Meat, dairy and seafood products are major sources of protein, it might be difficult for vegans. In such cases, it is best to go for Origin Nutrition which offers one of the best plant protein powders.

Fat and its role:

Many people believe that eating fat immediately following a workout slows digestion and prevents nutrient absorption. While fat may slow the absorption of your post-workout meal, it has no effect on its nutritional value. According to one study, whole milk is more effective than skim milk at promoting muscle growth after a workout. Furthermore, another study found that eating a high-fat meal (45 percent energy from fat) after working out did not affect muscle glycogen synthesis. Limiting your fat intake after exercise is a good idea, but having some fat in your post-workout meal won’t hurt your recovery. Some items with fats to consider for post-meal nutrition are:

  • avocado
  • nuts
  • nut jar of butter
  • seeds
  • trail mix (dried fruits and nuts)

Carbs and its contribution:

When carbohydrates and protein are consumed together, insulin secretion, which promotes glycogen synthesis, is more effectively stimulated. Consuming both carbohydrates and protein after exercise can thus maximise protein and glycogen synthesis. Try consuming carbs to Protein in a ratio of 3:1, for example if you are consuming 40 grams of protein then you should take 120 grams of carbohydrates. Consuming enough carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores is especially important for people who exercise frequently, such as twice in one day. This becomes less important if you have 1 or 2 days between workouts. Some sources of carbs for a good post-workout meal are:

  • sweet potatoes
  • chocolate milk
  • quinoa and other grains
  • fruits
  • Rice cakes
  • rice
  • oatmeal
  • potatoes
  • pasta
  • whole-grain bread
  • edamame

Conclusion:

After you exercise, your body’s ability to rebuild glycogen and protein is enhanced. As a result, it is recommended that you consume carbohydrates and protein as soon as possible after exercising. Previously, experts advised eating your post-workout meal within 45 minutes, as delaying carb consumption by as little as 2 hours after a workout could result in up to 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis.

Recent research, however, has discovered that the post-exercise window for maximising the muscular response to eating protein is wider than previously thought, lasting up to several hours. Furthermore, if you ate a high-carbohydrate, high-protein meal an hour before exercising, the benefits of that meal are likely to last after training. Recovery is more than just what you eat right after working out. When you exercise regularly, the process continues.