Let’s talk about POST WORKOUT RECOVERY FOOD!
I love food and I love working out so it seemed fitting this morning after my workout and run that I discuss this topic. Morning workouts deplete your body of protein, fluids and carbohydrates and if you workout fasted it will further rob you of storage nutrients which if not restored, will make you tired the rest of the day and actually be counterproductive to reaching your fitness goals.
After a workout, your muscles are weaker because they have been torn down and damaged so if your idea of a post workout meal is burgers, sugars, and fries then you can forget about making gains from your workout. That, and if your glycogen stores aren’t replenished or continue to stay low, then you’ll likely lose muscle mass not gain it (hence why it is so hard to be an endurance runner and build muscle).
Since my goal is to have the best of both worlds now, it requires me to EAT and to EAT A LOT!
Let’s break this into two parts. It’s important to have a quick meal right after a workout and by meal, I really mean a liquid meal since it is more quickly absorbed than food. It needs to be something that can be ingested and DIGESTED quickly.
My go-to liquid meal right now is Vegan Tropical Strawberry Shakeology with non-flavored BCAA’s and L-Glutamine.
The objective of this quick liquid meal is to:
> RAPIDLY REPLENISH GLYCOGEN STORES
> STOP PROTEIN BREAKDOWN
> ELEVATE PROTEIN SYNTHESIS
The combination of these 3 ingredients helps with all three!
Now lets talk about solid food. I typically eat within 1-2 hours of working out because this is the period of time where my body will absorb nutrients rapidly to recover the loss I had during my workouts, my run or maybe both! Let’s take a look at this plate:
If it is super early, I will typically have egg whites which are a high protein food that also has essential amino acids that will help rebuild damaged tissues. If later in the day, I will grab chicken which does the same thing.
Sweet potatoes are my go to, post workout, complex carb! If working out extremely hard or running a good amount in the day, my glycogen levels will drop and I’ve personally found sweet potatoes to restore them quickly. In addition, they also have a good amount of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. So a huge win all around
Need I say anything about avocados! You all know I love them but they actually serve a really good purpose as a post-workout food. They contain saturated fats, folic acid, vitamin K, C, and E and are loaded with potassium. This helps keep you blood pressure in check and boosts your energy levels NATURALLY throughout the day. But here’s the thing, you either need to hold off until later in the day or have a SMALL portion as the last item you eat. Here is why, whether good or bad fat, fats slow down the digestion process. Remember, you want your body to digest your meal quickly so removing or stalling fat consumption will allow your body to concentrate on supplying the other nutrients to the working muscles more quickly. This isn’t saying healthy fats are bad. I love my daily dose of it but it’s just better consumed last or later on in the day in my opinion.
Now, all this said, this is what works for ME! It may take some time to figure out what works for you and your body but the main point is to consume real food (not garbage) after working out. It’s incredibly important and you don’t want all that hard work to go to waste.
Happy & Healthy Eating my friends!