‘What To Eat After A Workout – Post Workout Meal, Drinks & Snacks’ – Monica May
The PRE and POST workout meal plays a huge role when it comes to losing weight and building lean muscles.
Eating the right foods at the right time is one of the most important things when it comes to getting fit and healthy overall.
And we already talked about the right way to fuel up before a workout in my PRE-WORKOUT GUIDE, so, now it’s time for that famed post workout meal.
Why are fitness athletes SO obsessed with what to eat after a workout?
Does it really affect our results that much?
The answer is YES.
In fact, this meal directly affects our results, since it’s the one that helps our muscles grow stronger.
The truth is, we all put a lot of effort into our workouts, always looking to perform better and give our 100% at the gym.
HOWEVER, if we fail to fuel up properly after the workout, it can all go to waste.
That’s why I packed a post workout guide, to help you understand and finally nail your post workout meal, post workout snacks and post workout drinks, to get better results.
Let’s get started right away!
Why The Post Workout Meal Is So Important?
Let’s start from the beginning…
When you are working out, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel.
This results in your muscles being partially depleted of glycogen.
Some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down and damaged.
Therefore, after your workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow those muscle proteins.
And the bond that helps rebuild those muscles and helps them grow stronger after each training is food.
Your muscles are exhausted after the workout, they have lost all of their energy and they need fuel fast to be able to grow stronger.
A lot of girls think that if they don’t eat anything after the workout, they will lose even more weight, but this isn’t true at all.
The only thing you will do if you starve yourself after working out is throwing that hard work to waste.
Your muscles won’t grow if you don’t feed them, in fact, your body will start to panic and will start storing fat and burning proteins.
That’s why eating is crucial when it comes to post-workout.
But What To Eat After WOrkout?!
After a workout, your muscles are pretty hungry, probably just like yourself.
They’re hungry for nutrients and they need something FAST.
Here’s what you can do to feed those hungry muscles with the right nutrients.
A fast-digesting high protein – high carb meal is the best way to go when it comes to eating after a workout.
Starting from here, when we’re looking for a quick fix-up, a post workout drinks, definitely the best choice would be a liquid, which means shake or a protein-based smoothie.
As I explain in my pre-workout guide, liquids are easy to prepare and are easy to carry on, and they can be digested more readily than solid foods.
This means that a protein shake, right after you finish your workout (in the range of 15 minutes) would be the perfect post workout fuel up.
The protein shake I use at the moment is California Gold Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate.
This is because isolates are digested faster than concentrates, and that makes them the best post workout drinks.
Whatever option you choose to go for, just make sure to read the label and double check for added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and carbs.
This is the meal you want to throw closer attention to when it comes to calories too, so make sure to be as pure as possible.
Now, if you’re not a fan of protein shakes and whey overall, you have plenty of other options to fuel up right after your workout.
Smoothies loaded with some sort of protein are my favorite.
I usually do a green apple-spinach smoothie, tossing in some raspberries + chia seeds and a tablespoon of peanut butter to maximize the protein intake.
Also, if you are not a vegan, you can add Greek yogurt or fresh egg-whites in your smoothies – they have no taste, yet they’re packed with proteins.
Post Workout Snacks
You have to understand that it’s pretty difficult for the body to recover if energy levels are not replenished within 15 to 30 minutes after finishing a workout.
This means that having even a little snack shortly after exercising can also help to restore energy levels.
I’m usually not feeling that hungry after I have my shake, but that doesn’t change the fact that my muscles are hungry for nutrients.
So, if I don’t eat my post workout meal shortly, I make sure to have a healthy snack to replenish my glycogen levels and provide my muscles with the protein needed.
So, here are some of my favorite options for post workout snacks:
- Brown rice cakes topped with peanut butter and berries
- A handful of raw cashews
- Almond butter with slices of green apple
- Jerky Beef
- Rice cakes with cottage cheese
- A Protein Bar
Choose your favorite and go for it!
However, you have to know that post workout snacks and post workout drinks cannot and should not replace your post workout meal.
Protein shakes are a supplement, and they only complement your post-workout meal and act as a fast fix up, but should never replace the meal afterward.
Post Workout Meals
You should eat a quality meal right after every training.
The perfect scenario would be to eat your post-workout meal in the range of 30-40 minutes after finishing your workout.
You shouldn’t wait longer than an hour to have your after workout meal.
Here’s a simple post-workout meal formula for you:
clean proteins + complex carbs + greens
The proteins will do their job in rebuilding that broken muscle blocks, the carbohydrates will restore those glucose levels and get your muscles ready for recovery, and the greens will fill your body with a decent amount of both fibers and micronutrients.
You’ll find hundreds of post-workout meals in my meal plan, Burn Baby Burn, however, here are some of the go-to ideas I usually lean onto.
Tuna + Chickpeas + Kale Salad
This is one of those fast go-to meals I usually go for whenever I’m in a rush.
I open a tuna can (I usually go for tuna in water) and side it with a cup of chickpeas.
I have a rule to always add a fresh ingredient in my post workout (or any) meals, so with this combo, I go for kale.
Chicken + Roasted Vegetables + Broccoli Salad
I usually cut the meat and the veggies in cubes, add a ton of spices and cook them in the oven.
Meanwhile, I steam the broccoli for a minute or two, season it with olive oil and fresh lemon juice and side my chicken and veggies with it.
This is a great idea for meal planning too.
Egg omelet + Arugula + Tomatoes
Eggs are always a great choice when it comes to post-workout fuel up, especially since they are packed with protein.
Side your omelet with tomatoes and arugula, and you are all set.
Now Head On To Work!
As long as you got your macros on point, you are making sure to fuel your body the right way and get the best out of your workouts.
And if you are not sure how to do that, head on to my meal plan Burn Baby Burn.
I really hope I helped you fix your after workout nutrition.
Till next time!