Nutrition and exercise go hand-in-hand. It’s not just about weight loss, either. While you should limit your calories if you want to shed a few extra pounds, it’s also true that proper nutrition can make you feel a lot more energetic and ready to face whatever workout you have planned.
New research reported in the Globe and Mail suggests that our window of opportunity when it comes to a post-workout meal is much longer than we once thought. This gives you the chance to fuel up properly: when done right, post-workout nutrition can help your body recover and make you feel a lot better the day after. Keep reading below for some tips on how to make sure you’re getting the right nutrition you need after every workout.
Replenish your carbohydrate stores
Carbs aren’t the enemy: you need them for energy! Your body uses up a lot of glycogen stores during a workout, so it’s important to replenish them and make sure you aren’t running on empty. You should still be opting for more complex carbohydrates to lessen the amount of refined sugar you ingest, so choose things like sweet potatoes and oatmeal. Simple sugars that come from fruits are okay, as fruits have the added benefit of upping your daily vitamin intake.
Fuel up on protein
If carbohydrates are for energy, it’s protein that helps your muscles recover. According to this Men’s Health guide on protein shakes, those who rely on these supplements should take their shake after a workout. This is when your muscles are most receptive to additional protein stores, which will in turn aid in muscle recovery. Keep in mind that these shakes can’t be a replacement for traditional sources of protein, as these powders don’t always have the amino acids and minerals that foods like beef and chicken have.
Go easy on the caffeine
Verywell Fit points out that some studies link coffee to reducing muscle pain, but it’s also important to remember that caffeine at night can wreck your sleep cycle. If you find yourself in dire need, however, then go for more healthy alternatives. Lifestyle site Pretty Me’s review of Lean N Green coffee notes that green coffee often has less caffeine than your regular brew. Green coffee also has the added benefit of having antioxidants, which can help your body recover from a strenuous workout. If you have a busy day ahead of you, a small cup of joe is fine. Just don’t chug down lots of coffee, otherwise your body won’t be able to properly recover!
Don’t shy away from healthy fats
You should stay away from oily foods after you’ve exercised. Food that’s high in fat ends up slowing down your digestive system, and in general can make you feel sluggish — which is definitely not what you want to be experiencing after a workout. That said, healthy fats that you can find in foods like salmon and whole milk aren’t very detrimental to your post-workout recovery. For a balanced meal, healthy fats will inevitably be part of it if you focus on getting the right carbohydrates and proteins in.
At Premier Fitness Source, we are focused on creating accessible fitness solutions for everyone. Investing in the right equipment is a great first step. And supplementing your routine up with the proper nutrition will really set you up for success. Call or stop in to talk with any of our highly trained exercise consultants and get the advice you need to achieve your personal fitness goals.
Article contributed by Nicola Porter
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