What people don’t usually realize is that what they consume after a workout has a profound impact on their health and fitness goals. In relation to this, nutritionists have debunked the myth that you must consume protein within 15 minutes of your workout in order to help your muscles grow.
Street Smart Nutrition owner Cara Harbstreet explained that timing shouldn’t be the concern here, rather, the right calories you will consume. She recommends eating and drinking food with the correct nutrients within an hour to ensure proper muscle recovery.
Importance of Eating After Working Out
Some people think that they will lose more weight if they skip a meal after workouts but always remember that the lost nutrients won’t be replenished if you don’t consume calories. You’ll also feel tired and lethargic because you’ve used up your stored energy, which would have been replaced if you ingested foods and drinks.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock — After working out, your body needs to replenish lost calories
However, not all people are comfortable eating meals after workouts, which is why protein shakes are a pretty common post-workout meal. It doesn’t matter if you’re consuming a full meal or just a shake, as long as you’re replenishing the nutrient levels in your body.
You also have to think about convenience, especially if you are squeezing in a sweat session during lunchtime. If you need to go back to work right after the workout, a protein bar might do the trick.
What You Should Eat
Remember that the nutrients you get after your workout are as crucial as what you eat before you exercise, so you need to put some thought into what you should really be consuming. The first thing you should do after an intense session is to rehydrate yourself.
Alliance Images/Shutterstock — After working out, you need to stay hydrated
Some experts even believe that drinking water is way more important than eating after a workout. This is because you lose fluids and electrolytes when you sweat.
It is crucial that you stay hydrated during and after exercise to avoid fatigue. Plus, you are helping your body recover.
For a post-workout meal, you should definitely choose complex carbohydrates, which are filled with protein that is good for muscle repair. Nuts, brown rice, and quinoa are all great options to boost your energy and keep you full for longer. Your meal should also contain some source of protein like fish, meat, beans, or tofu.
Sia-James/Shutterstock — Carbohydrates like quinoa are good for muscle repair
Fats are always ridiculed by people due to the misconception that it will make them gain weight. However, this macronutrient is not the enemy. In fact, it isn’t bad for your body as long as you know which ones to consume. Fats, found in avocados, nuts and olive oil, are all healthy as long as consumed in moderation.
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