For a lot of us, finishing a workout at the gym usually means going through a prolonged process of showering, getting dressed, and getting home where we may or may not grab something to eat, depending on our mood. Regardless of whether you’re an athlete or just someone who’s trying to shape up a bit, this isn’t really an ideal way to handle that post-workout period. You’re missing out on a lot of valuable benefits if you ignore nutrition after exercising, and you could actually be slowing down your overall progress. For better results and more energy, you’ve got to eat right, and we’re here to show you how. If you’re in need of some handy tips, read on.
Rehydrate right away
This is especially important for those doing intense workouts—you want to drink water before, during, and right after finishing your workout to rehydrate your body properly. Not drinking enough water can result in dizzy spells and loss of muscle mass over time, and while it’s fine to wait a little, you should still drink some as soon as you can. The best thing to do is simply keep a reusable bottle near you as you exercise. That way you can both sip during the workout, and after you’ve finished it.
Eat both carbs and protein
Your muscle growth depends on the protein synthesis from the food you intake, so if you’re looking to become strong and toned, you’ll definitely need more protein. After all, they are the building blocks of your muscles, and not ingesting enough of them will mean slow progress. Besides this, you should also have some carbs in your meal—carbs will give you energy and prevent that post-workout slump, and they also contribute to muscle fiber fullness and volume. It’s important to eat shortly after you exercise because you want to help your body recover and actually build up some strength and stamina. If you’re hungry, your body tends to start degrading your muscles to obtain energy, so don’t let yourself starve because it really won’t help you.
Make your own shake
Now that you know which macronutrients you need, all that’s left is to figure out what kind of meal to make. The best and easiest option are generally protein shakes because they’re really quick to whip up as long as you have the right post-workout supplement such as whey protein that you can mix. These are a good option because they’re fast-absorbing, so your body will immediately get what it needs to build muscle, and they’re easy to prepare and pack in a little bottle that you can take to the gym. Mix them in with almond milk, Greek yoghurt, and some fruit to make it super tasty and nutritious, and you’ll have the perfect snack on your hands.
Keep a granola bar in your bag
Granola bars can also be good post-workout snacks, but it’s much better if you take your own homemade version that will have more protein and less refined sugars in it. While shakes are better, granola bars can be your back up. Sometimes we forget to make a better snack, and sometimes there’s just no time, so keep one sweet bar in your bag and munch on it after a workout. Of course, this is also a good snack when you’re on a diet and keep craving something sweet—it’s much better to eat your granola than store-bought chocolate.
Eat slowly and wait if you need to
A lot of the time, beginners just won’t feel great after a workout. Those first few days can be tough, and if you feel exhausted and slightly nauseated, it’s totally okay to postpone your snack. Focus on hydration, and bring a bag of nuts with you. Walnuts and almonds are a good option, for example. Sip on water and then when you’re able, pop a few nuts in your mouth and chew on them slowly. The more you work out, the better you’ll feel, and soon enough your stomach will adjust and you’ll be able to have a bigger snack.
As you can see, post-workout nutrition isn’t complicated, but it’s very beneficial. As long as you prepare the right snacks in advance you’ll have something healthy to eat, so start making your own delicious shakes and you can speed up your progress.
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