After a workout, the speed at which we hit the shower should not be our only point of concern! Our bodies need to repair and recover. Within 30-60 minutes following your workout, it is essential to replenish the body’s natural stores, which not only includes water, but carbohydrates, protein and electrolytes as well.
Carbs. When we hit the gym, break a sweat and workout our muscles, we quickly go through the small stores of glucose that our bodies naturally hold. Exercise breaks down our muscle proteins and depletes our stored glucose, so we need to provide the necessary materials our bodies need to help rebuild, repair, tone and tighten. Failure to eat the best post-workout can cause prolonged soreness as well as dizziness and exhaustion.
Following moderate to strenuous activity, eat a serving or two of carbohydrates to replenish your body’s glucose. Now, will any old carbohydrate do? The best post-workout snack will include a glucose source that is quickly and easily digestible and has a high glycemic index, such as an English muffin with some jelly. Looking for less of a snack and more of a meal? The best meals for after a workout should include a well-balanced meal with at least a third of your plate covered with whole-wheat pasta, brown rice or a baked or roasted potato.
Protein. A hearty source of protein in your post-workout meal is equally important. As exercise breaks down our muscle fibers, we must provide our bodies with more protein to rebuild and replenish in order to build muscle tone and sculpt our bodies. Some of the best post-workout protein sources include a piece of grilled chicken or fish – and while animal sources of protein are the best option for after exercise, if you’re vegetarian, pile on the rice and beans, nuts or tofu for a protein-punch.
Electrolytes. Sodium and potassium are the crucial electrolytes that may be pushed off balance during exercise and must be replaced afterward. And although commercial sports drinks work well to replenish these electrolytes after a strenuous sweat session, the added sugars and artificial flavors are often unnecessary. Instead, replenish your potassium with bananas, strawberries, dark leafy greens, cantaloupe, or molasses and add some salt to your post-workout meal for a healthy dose of sodium too!