Have you ever gotten in a really solid workout, only to forget how important it is and skip the post-workout meal altogether? THIS SPELLS TROUBLE! It is super important for anyone who cares about nutrition or wants to build muscle, lose fat or improve their body.
With that being said, it is also the meal that seems to confuse people the most.
Tell me more!
Your post-workout meal should be planned to contain TWO things and NOT contain one other thing.
The things that it SHOULD contain are protein and carbs. While chicken, meat, fish and eggs are all fine sources of protein that I personally eat daily and would recommend to any of my clients, they are surprisingly not the ideal type of protein for the meal after your workout. That’s because these foods are solid foods, and the protein in solid foods tends to digest pretty slowly. You may have eaten a high protein food in your post-workout meal, but by the time the protein is digested and finally ready to be used by your body, a whole lot of time would have passed.
This is why the ideal source of protein to eat after your workout is whey protein powder. Just mix it with some type of liquid (most often water) and you got yourself a drinkable source of protein.
A whey protein shake will be digested by your body much quicker than a solid food for two reasons:
- Liquid meals digest faster than solid food meals
- Whey protein is the fastest digesting form of protein there is
As for how much, try to consume between 0.15-0.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight (so a 175lb person would shoot for between 26-43 grams at this time).
The other thing that you SHOULD be eating as part of your post-workout meal are carbs. Carbs will be used by your body to restore muscle glycogen that was depleted while you worked out. If your post workout meal does not contain carbs, your body may actually instead break down muscle tissue for this same purpose (which would suck). Carbs also create an insulin spike which helps to move nutrients into your muscle tissue quicker. Typical “good carbs” (oatmeal, brown rice, etc.) contain fiber and other nutrients that slow down that food’s digestion.
Sounds easy enough… but what should I not be eating?
You should NOT be eating fat. Fat slows down digestion. In this case, it would be slowing down the digestion of protein and carbs. As you’re about to find out, this is the exact opposite of what you want to happen. Plus, fats don’t really contain all that much “good for you” stuff either!
To sum it up…
It really isn’t all that hard to put together the ideal post-workout meal. Just use whole, healthy foods with as few ingredients as possible. This is one case where simpler is definitely better! For an optimal post-workout meal, why not try out this week’s recipe - Sweet Potato Post-Workout Pancakes? Awesome!