Before, I shared how to fuel up for your workouts with optimal nutrition. Now, I want to touch on the important role nutrition plays after your session. It is not all about shoveling sources of protein into your mouth. You just burned those calories, you don’t want to put them all back in!
Protein is ideal for a post workout snack. When you lift weights or perform any sort of muscle activity, your muscles develop small tears. While protein has many roles in our body, one main function is to repair and rebuild muscle and tissue.
The protein sources you have after a workout do not have to come from a powder. While most want something quick, there are some great protein powders out there with minimal ingredients. But you have to be careful which ones you consume, something we can get into later. Personally, I use whole foods to get all my nutrition. Greek yogurt is a big one for me after a workout. Though I do not like the taste by itself, adding a vanilla Greek yogurt to my smoothies increases my protein intake and you can barely taste it! Greek yogurt has almost double the amount of protein as regular yogurt.
While protein plays a vital role in post workout nutrition, so do carbs. As we learned before in my Fueling Your Workout article, our bodies store energy as glycogen. Consuming carbs before a workout helps elevate our energy stores. After an activity, we used up those energy stores and need to replenish them. Just like before a workout, carbs will help increase those energy stores in our muscles after.
Have you noticed the relationship between your pre-workout and post workout snacking? Carbs and protein play critical roles in all areas of exercise. Again, the timing is an individual preference. After a workout, you want to consume a moderate carb-high protein combination as soon as you can, and no later than 30 minutes. Be mindful of your serving sizes, as you just finished sweating out those calories!
Here is one my favorite post-workout smoothies:
1 C Orange Juice
¾ C Vanilla Greek Yogurt
½ C frozen pineapple
½ C frozen mango
1 handful spinach leaves
Give it and try after your next sweat session. Also, don't forget to hydrate and stretch!