What Does the Body Need After a Workout?
It needs fluids, protein and more fuel. Without these nutrients, you can very well feel run down even if you were invigorated an hour before. It is recommended that you wait no longer than an hour to eat after each workout session.
The body loses fluid through your sweat. If you notice that your sweat is salty then you are also losing electrolytes. The major fluid that you need to replace is the water. For a healthy and productive workout, drink at least a glass of water before, one during and one after the workout. If you feel like drinking more, that is fine too.
To replenish electrolytes, don’t reach for the latest sports drink. Instead grab a banana. Bananas are packed with potassium and magnesium. Since this category is fluids, add milk and or yogurt and blend until smooth for a post-workout shake that will put back the electrolytes that you need.
Protein is important for building muscle. When you weight train, muscle is broken down so that it can be built back up while you sleep. It needs protein to do that. Choose lean forms of protein such as fresh turkey breast. Combine it with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes for a great muscle boost.
Protein can also be replenished from non-animal sources. Eating a serving or two of almonds, a tablespoon of low-fat peanut butter or a cup of black beans will provide you with protein as well as fiber. Mix those beans with a little salsa for an extra kick.
What about soy? Drinking a glass of soy milk or eating soy nuts will provide the protein that you need without the extra fat.
These provide the fuel for your body. Carbohydrates that won’t spike your blood sugar are better sources, especially after a workout. Stick with whole grains in breads, dried fruits and other grains like oats.
Create your own granola or trail mix. Combine low-fat ingredients with carbohydrates that will supply steady energy for the rest of the day. Carbohydrates that are high in fiber also keep cholesterol down and aid in digestive health.
Combine food suggestions from all three groups to create a healthy post-workout meal. Keep the calories low but the nutrients high with your food choices. To get a good meal or snack after a workout you don’t have to invest in pre-packaged alternatives. Create what you need at home.