So you’ve just managed to beat your record last week. And you think you deserve a reward after days and days of pumping yourself to push harder.
As you sit in your living room couch, the thought passes when you flip the channel and see an electric skateboard review advertisement. But a few seconds later, your stomach growls as another advertisement about mouthwatering burgers and fries come up.
Thinking with your stomach and not your brain, you start to head off to claim your reward. But you might just want to stay in your tracks and think again. Because the most important food you consume every day is what you eat after hitting the gym.
That’s because when you work out, your muscles will use its stored glycogen as fuel resulting in your muscle’s glycogen supply to be partially depleted. (Glycogen is your body’s secondary energy storage.)
Once you finish your workout, your body will try to rebuild the glycogen it used and regrow and repair your muscle proteins. That’s why consuming the right kind of nutrients after your workout will help your body regenerate faster. That’s also why it is a good idea to eat protein and carbs post-workout.
Serve them hard-boiled, sunny side up, poached, over easy, or even scrambled- eggs are packed with nutrients and, most importantly, protein. You can eat eggs any time of the day because they’re a versatile food. You can even add some lean turkey, a good avocado, some onions and peppers, or a slice of toast to add a few servings of protein to your meal.
#2 Wholegrain Breakfast Cereal
Cereals are a versatile food at any time of the day. You can eat cereal for breakfast or even as a snack. Make sure to pick a low sugar, high fiber, and high protein type of cereal. This is a perfect way to reload the energy stores your muscles have used up.
You can also add dairy to make it more of a substantial snack – add a little yogurt or milk.
Another alternative is oatmeal. It contains plenty of fiber and carbs that can easily be mixed with a high-protein ingredient such as a dash of protein powder or almond butter.
#3 Protein Shake
If you want a quicker way to get protein, drinking a protein shake will do the job. Whey protein powder is an important supplement to build muscle mass because it pushes protein synthesis (it rapidly gets to your muscles to start muscle buildup in addition to digesting fats and increasing blood flow to your muscles). This is why it is mostly recommended to consume whey protein soon after you finish your workout. What’s good about this is that you can mix it up with any milk of your choice, peanut butter, and fruit.
These are packed with enzymes and easily digestible carbohydrates that help your body break down nutrients needed for your sore muscles. In other words, they help replenish your muscles’ glycogen stores and help your body recover. They also offer vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that is needed to help your body replenish after a grueling workout.
Kiwi, for example, helps with breaking down amino acids and aids your digestion. Pineapple is known to contain anti-inflammatory compounds that help your muscles recover.
#5 Chocolate Milk
When it’s time to quench your thirst after an intense workout, you may be faced with having to pick one out of the slew of options out there. Gatorade? Water, POWERade?
You might want to hold that thought because there’s another drink you might want to consider. Studies have shown that chocolate milk has double the protein and carbohydrate content that is perfect for replenishing your exhausted muscles. It prevents dehydration as it has a high water content that will replace the fluids you lost as sweat.
An added nutritional bonus is that it contains calcium and has a little sugar and sodium that will help with your body’s energy and water stores.