After you're done working out, you probably just want to shower and crash or get on with your day. If so, you're missing the most important step in your routine for muscle recovery and building strength: the post-workout meal.
What Happens to Your Body During Exercise
Training has several effects on your body. First of all, you sweat, which causes the body to lose water and electrolytes which keep you properly hydrated. Next, you burn the energy from the food you consumed, such as carbohydrates and protein. This results in a dropping of blood sugar levels. Lastly, you make tiny, microscopic tears in your muscles as you push them further and further, which is why you have muscle soreness the next day.
It's crucial to remedy all of these situations post workout to keep yourself well and progress safely toward your goal.
Tips for Proper Recovery
There are some basic guidelines to follow for re-fueling after training. The best beverage after working out will always be water, especially over sugar-filled energy drinks, but there are some other healthy options (more below). Your ideal post-workout meal should include lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats as well as plenty of antioxidant-packed fruits and vegetables, which also have anti-inflammatory benefits. This will help stabilize the blood sugar and help you develop lean muscle mass. Make sure to eat within an hour of completing your exercises.
Here are some recommended meals and more to help you:
1. Chicken breast (grilled or roasted without the skin) with arugula, red bell peppers and avocado on whole grain bread.
2. Drink a glass of tart cherry juice to fight muscle soreness. You can also use tart cherry juice concentrate mixed with sparkling water in a water bottle.
3. Broiled salmon salad with spinach, quinoa and tomatoes. Garnish with fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper.
4. Sip on coconut water for extra electrolytes. Mix some orange juice in with it for extra vitamin C, a potent antioxidant.
5. Stir-fry tofu, snap peas, asparagus, carrots and bell peppers and serve over steamed brown rice.
6. Season meals with spices like ginger and turmeric to help fight inflammation and discomfort tomorrow.
7. Top a couple of slices of sprouted or Ezekiel bread with hummus and any fresh vegetables of your choosing. Have a apple on the side for additional vitamins and fiber.
8. Steep fresh lemon and cucumber slices along with mint leaves in water to drink after training. You'll get vitamins and digestive support.
9. Make up a batch of pancakes using whole what flour and a natural sweetener like stevia and top with nut butter and fresh berries instead of syrup.
10. Make dessert a glass of organic chocolate milk for protein, carbohydrates and water to refuel and rehydrate the body.
BONUS TIP: Try adding an amino acid supplement to your muscle reovery regimen. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and support the development of lean muscle mass.
Learn more about proper workout techniques and diet at eVitamins and stock up on all your favorite health and fitness supplements. You can also learn what to eat before a workout here. See you tomorrow!