What Should You Eat After Your Workout?
Whether it’s getting your butt kicked during a CrossFit session, sweating it out in spin class, or power walking it out, kudos to you for getting your workout in. But what’s the best way to support your sweat sesh and recover most efficiently? It’s no secret that good nutrition is the key to optimizing your exercise performance. Not only is healthy food essential for the workout itself, but also to prepare for and recover from your time put in at the gym. If you’re working towards your summer weight loss goals by hitting the gym 2-3 times per week, pair your workout with a healthy diet supplying sufficient calories and you’re golden.
For the majority, choose lean protein like ground turkey, chicken or beef. 2-3 times per week, incorporate fatty fish like Salmon, tuna or halibut. Protein should make up about 1/4th of your plate (about the size of your fist). Protein helps rebuild the muscle broken down in strenuous or strength training workouts, so don’t skip it!
Veg out after your workout, literally. We only have one rule when it comes to veggies: when you think you have enough on your plate, add one more scoop. There’s a reason you’ve never heard of anyone eating too much spinach. Eat the rainbow with non starchy vegetables like broccoli, carrots, dark greens, cauliflower and asparagus. This should be half, yes half of your plate (eyeball about an open hand, palm & fingers). The micronutrients in veggies are needed for your body to effectively rebuild, restore and regrow after the gym.
Making up about ¼ of your plate, “quality” carbs means high fiber. Fill your plate with about a fist size amount of sweet or white potatoes, converted rice, 100% whole grain/wheat, corn and peas. Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap, but are important to replenish muscle after long gym sessions and HIIT workouts. Getting 4g of carbohydrates with every 1g of protein, 30 minutes post-workout has shown to increase protein absorption and muscle growth. So don’t cut the carbs if you want to be fit and strong!
Opt for whole fruits instead of fruit juice to ensure you’re getting the beneficial fiber you don’t get with juice. Fill your plate with about a fist size amount of fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, grapes and apples.
This means the one and only 100% pure water. We want quality calories, not liquid sugar. Your body is about 60-65% water, which means you need to drink a LOT of water throughout the day. Make sure to add an extra glass to replenish water lost during your sweat session
If you’re thinking this sounds like a lot of food – you’re right! It’s astonishing the volume of nutrient-rich real food it takes to compare to the caloric content of high fat, processed foods. It’s not just about calories, protein, carbs or fat – the vitamins and minerals in real food are essential for muscle growth and repair. Instead of obsessing over how many grams of protein per pound of body weight you should be eating, focus on incorporating a healthy, balanced variety of real foods into your diet.