6 Muscle Recovery Foods to Snack On After Your Workout
After a hard workout, it is crucial to refuel your body with the right foods in order to progress. Sadly, post-workout snacks are commonly misunderstood and used incorrectly.
After-exercise nutrition goals should focus on the following three things: replenish, rebuild, and rehydrate.
Here is a breakdown of what each entails and why they are so important:
Replenishing Glycogen Stores
During training, your body uses muscle glycogen to fuel itself through each exercise. And once the workout is done, the glycogen stores are almost completely depleted and in urgent need of replenishment.
Glycogen basically comes from carbs, once eaten they are converted into sugar known as glucose. When eating carbs, your body reserves some glucose in its glycogen stores to use later for intense exercise. So, logically the only way to replenish glycogen stores is by eating more carbs.
Studies suggest that the ideal amount of carbs post-workout would be around 3-4 grams per pound of body weight, or 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Rebuilding Damaged Muscle
When you work out, your muscle fibers are suffering minor tears and damage. These minor tears actually help you to build more muscle mass over time, however they do require the right post-workout nutrition.
The solution for this is very simple. What are muscles made out of? Protein!
Eating protein provides your body with the essential amino acids which help repair damaged muscles and rebuild the muscle fibers. The ideal amount of protein to consume post-workout is between 20-30 grams.
Sweating is an inevitable part of training, helping your body to stay cool through the tension.
Be that as it may, sweating also results in a loss of fluids, making it very important to rehydrate after each workout session. Drinking adequate fluids both before and after a workout is crucial for keeping your body functioning properly.
The process of rehydrating itself begins during the workout. You should aim to drink 6-8 ounces of water or other fluids (sports drinks, vitamin waters, etc.) every 15 minutes, according to available research.
Post-Workout Recovery Foods
Keeping the above mentioned nutritional goals in mind, here are 8 great muscle recovery foods you can eat after working out:
1. Cottage Cheese + Fruit
A very nutritious source of protein is definitely cottage cheese, offering around 20 to 25 grams of protein per serving, as well as 5 to 10 grams of carbs. On top of that, cottage cheese is also a fantastic source of calcium and vitamin B12.
Now, adding some fresh or dried fruits to your cottage cheese would be recommended. Not only will you improve the taste, but you’ll add more necessary carbs, dietary fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.
All sorts of fruits go well with cottage cheese including berries, peaches, bananas, plums, and pineapple.
2. Egg Wrap
Eggs and whole wheat tortillas are an excellent source of both protein and carbs – not to mention the easy preparation process.
Prepare your eggs how you like them, I recommend scrambled. Warm up your tortilla, toss the eggs over, add your favorite sauce or some veggies, wrap and enjoy.
One egg generally contains around 6 grams of protein, so make sure you go for two or three at least! Combining it with the whole wheat tortilla, you’ll easily get over 20 grams of protein and carbs.
3. Greek Yoghurt + Granola
A basic and fast solution to your post-workout snack/meal.
Most Greek yoghurt brands contain at least 10 to 20 grams of protein per serving. Additionally, this serving will also provide you with about 4 grams of carbs.
Now, the best addition to your Greek yoghurt would a healthy granola mix containing ingredients such as oats, nuts, and seeds. Similar to Greek yoghurt, granola can range in the quantity of carbs it provides, but it generally contains between 15 to 20 grams per serving.
When choosing your granola, make sure to look for the one that has little to no added sugar.
4. Tuna + Crackers
If you’re looking to lose weight, or just want a low-calorie and high-protein snack, look no further.
Tuna contains at least 20 to 25 grams of protein per serving, its low in calories, and you can digest it easily. In addition, tuna also offers essential nutrients such as vitamin D, iron, and zinc.
To add some crunchy carbs to this snack, just pair the tuna with a serving of whole-grain crackers.
5. Peanut Butter + Banana
When you are in the mood for a quick and delicious snack, just slice up a banana and scoop out a serving of peanut butter.
A serving of peanut butter contains approximately 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbs. On the other hand, a banana offers around 25 grams of carbs and 3 grams of dietary fiber.
Bananas are a great choice for a snack in general, as they not only have amazing nutritional value but also taste very good.
Just keep in mind that peanut butter is high in calories, so be mindful with portion sizes.
6. Protein Shake
Get your post-workout protein, carbs, and hydration all in one tasty drink!
To craft your protein shake/smoothie, first you need to select a protein powder to add to a blender. I recommend whey protein, as its fast absorbing and provides 20 to 25 grams of protein per serving.
Then, add your selection of fruits and fluids. For a thicker texture, add some milk or yoghurt. Blend!
You want to aim for a 4:1 ratio of protein to carbs in your shake/smoothie.
Replenishing your body after working out is an essential step for building muscular development, strength, and health. Try out some of the above mentioned snack ideas after your training, and make some gains!
You can also come up with your own snack recipes, just remember the replenish, rebuild, and rehydrate rule.