Best Foods for Post-Workout Recovery

If you wish to develop muscles and reach your fitness goals, then the right fuel is to choose the right food after a workout is essential. Taking post-workout nutrition boost recovery and lower muscle soreness. It also develops muscle and increases immune system functioning and provide glycogen. It is a good idea to drink and eat something within an hour to get good benefits.

Post-Workout Eating Is Important

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Eating the right food after doing a workout is important. It will help you understand how your body gets affected after doing physical activity. When you are doing a workout, your muscle uses their glycogen stores for energy. It will result in the muscles being partially drained of glycogen. Some of the proteins in the muscles also get damaged and break.

After the workouts, your body tries to rebuild the glycogen store and restore the muscle proteins.

Consuming the appropriate nutrients after an exercise can improve your body to make workouts faster. It is especially important to use proper nutrients soon after the workout to help the faster recovery of the body.

Post-workout food helps to restore glycogen, promote muscle protein synthesis, reduce the breakdown of muscle protein, and boost recovery.

Protein Repair And Develops Muscles

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As explained above, workout induces muscle protein breakdown. It depends on the fitness training levels and athletes the experience of muscle protein breakdown. Eating enough amount of protein after an exercise provides your body amino acids to repair and restore these proteins. It also provides building blocks needed to build new muscle tissues. It was advised to consume 0.14-0.23 gm of protein per pound of the bodyweight that is 0.3-0.5 gm /kg soon after an exercise session.

Research has shown that eating 20-40 gm of protein seems to increase the recovering ability of the body after a workout.

Carbs Boost Recovery

The Role of Carbohydrates in Recovery
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Your glycogen stores of the body are used as fuel during a workout, and eating carbs after your workout boost replenishes them. The rate of glycogen stores is utilized depends on the activity. For example, endurance sports affect your body to utilized more glycogen than resistance training.

For this reason, if you engage in endurance sports like swimming, running, etc. you might require to consume more carbs than a bodybuilder. Eating 0.5-0.7 gm of carbs per pound of body weight in 30 minutes after doing a workout provides the right glycogen resynthesis.

Moreover, insulin secretion boosts glycogen synthesis is good stimulated when the protein and carbs are eaten at the same time.

Therefore, eating both protein and carbs after a workout can lower glycogen synthesis and protein.

Eat the two in a ratio of 3:1 carbs to protein, for example, 20 gm of carbs and 40gm of protein. Consuming plenty of carbs helps to rebuild glycogen stores.

Fat Is Also Important

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Many people think that eating fatty foods after workout lower down the digestion and lower nutrient absorption. While fat might reduce the absorption after a workout, but it will not lower the benefits.

For example, research showed that whole milk was extra effective at boosting muscle growth after a workout than the skim milk.

Moreover, another research revealed that even when eating a high-fat meal with 45% of energy from fat after exercise, muscle glycogen synthesis was not changed. It might be a useful idea to reduce the fat amount to consume after exercise but eating good fat after exercise meal will not affect the recovery.

Foods for Post-Workout

The primary goal of the post-workout meal is to provide your body with the right nutrients for enough recovery and lower the benefits of workout

choosing foods, which are easy to digest help to boost nutrient absorption. Here are the foods to add to the post-workout diet.

Carbs

Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potatoes contain rich dietary fiber, complex carbs, beta-carotene, manganese, vitamin C, and potassium. The sweet potatoes help to recover glycogen levels after a workout.

Sweet potatoes contain natural sugar and complex carbohydrates, which are slowly entered into the bloodstream, manage a balanced and regular energy source without causing blood sugar spikes. When you eat it before a workout, it will keep you energetic during a workout.

Chocolate Milk

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Chocolate milk is popularly known as a post-workout drink. Many athletes prefer it for quick muscle recovery after strenuous exercise, including essential nutrients, fluids, and electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium lost in the sweat. Considering low-fat chocolate milk consist of balanced protein and carbs, which are proven to help the exhausted muscles.

Quinoa

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This tiny quinoa grain contains healthy plant-based protein and carbs. These two macronutrients work wonder to speed up the post-workout recovery. Make sure to plan before to utilize quinoa in the right way and get all benefits.

Rice

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You can also eat rice in several ways after a workout. It is best to promote insulin response and muscle recovery. As you consume rice post-workout, your protein and glucose spike get normal and work in a beneficial way to absorb all nutrients.

A rice meal, especially, white rice is more preferable because of its high GI, which will provide good effects for recovery. However, the digestion of solid food gets slow, and rice also provides low protein. Therefore, it won’t be favorable from a perspective of recovery, but it helps to improve recovery.

Oatmeal

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Oatmeal is another food to eat post-workout. Some people say it works good and others say it works effectively before a workout. Therefore, everyone has different effects on their health and fitness levels.

Oats provide more fiber, which helps to lower the fat in the body. When you aim to gain weight and have not burned enough calories from a workout, they get stored in the body in the form of fats. Therefore, good cardio and a high fiber diet also suggested post-workout. Eating oats also lower the bad cholesterol level of the body and promote heart health. Oatmeal prepared with milk provides a decent amount of protein and builds muscle. Therefore, it is the best choice for post-workout.

Potatoes

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Potatoes consist of 22 amino acids, which are building blocks of proteins. Therefore, forming whole proteins after digestion, possibly making them the best food for post-workout. Potatoes are also the best source of potassium, copper, tryptophan, and manganese. They also have rich vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

Some potatoes have different levels of phenolic, which is similar to spinach and broccoli. Others consist of high folic acid, phytonutrients, quercetin, and antioxidants.

Best Fruits to Eat Post-Workout

Pineapple

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Pineapple provides 22 gm of carbohydrates, which helps body metabolism and increase energy during the workout. For post-workout, you will need carbs to restore glycogen stores for recovery, and pineapple is the best fruits to eat.

Pineapple is a powerhouse of micronutrients. It contains rich vitamin C, which helps in healing, tissue growth, and immune system protection.  According to a study published in the International-Journal-of-Sports-Nutrition-and-Exercise-Metabolism discovered that vitamin C helps to lower muscle soreness and the oxidative stress from the workout. It provides a sufficient amount of dietary fiber and traces minerals like manganese, which are required by the body in a small amount but not found in many foods.

Berries

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Berries consist of anthocyanins such as flavonoids present in the berries skin. Anthocyanins are best to enhance the blood flow and lower muscle inflammation after a strenuous workout. Berries also provide complex carbohydrates, which will help the body to restore energy levels and improve the microdamage of muscles.

Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries consist of antioxidants known as polyphenols. The berries can be added to snack or protein shakes for post-workout recovery.

Banana

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Bananas consist of fiber, which keeps you full for more time and provide fewer calories. According to macrobiotic-Nutritionist-and-Health-Practitioner named Shilpa Arora ND, bananas contain high fiber and offer satiation, which assists in weight loss. They help with boosting metabolism and reducing sugar cravings.

Banans contain rich carb that acts fast after a workout to restore the glycogen and repair damaged muscles. The potassium content of the banana helps in muscle function.

Protein

Whole eggs

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Whole eggs also good food for post-workout. According to a recent study from University-of-Illinois, researchers asked men who continuously raised to consume either 3-whole eggs or a combined egg white consist of 18gm of protein after a workout. Then they included similar amounts of protein synthesis or the muscle-building response from whole eggs, which was around 40% higher compared to egg whites.

The research authors theorize the nutrients discovered in the yolk, such as vitamins, fats, and minerals like iron, and phosphorus makes your torn muscles use high-quality protein in the whites more effectively.

Ricotta Cheese

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As small as 9gm of dairy can be sufficient to start the muscle-building process, according to the study in the Journal-of-the-International-Society-of-Sports-Nutrition.

For the research, men used either a milk-based drink containing 9gm of protein or carbohydrate only fluid equivalent to calories after a less body strength workout session.

While the carb-only placebo did small to bolster the muscle growing process post-workout, the 9gm of dairy protein enough ramped things up.

In response to restore muscles with training stress, the mTOR protein activate the muscles, which is important to stimulate protein synthesis.

The mTOR is more sensitive to the amino acids present in dairy. Choose a 1/2 cup serving of ricotta, which provides 14 gm of milk protein.

This is also a good source of whey protein, which means it contains a high amino acid called leucine, which effectively signal mTOR to restore muscle growth.

Smoked Salmon

 

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Research shows that more consumption of the omega-3 fatty acids present in certain fish such as sardines, salmon, and mackerel may help to lower delayed muscle soreness post resistance workout.

Omega-3s work on muscle cells, where they can help to lower workout triggered damage that causes painful inflammation. More reason to choose fish post-workout fuel: it promotes muscle protein synthesis. 

Chicken

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Chicken is another healthy food to eat after a workout. The chicken breast part of chicken provides lean proteins. It consists of 187 calories and 40gm of protein. The skin of the chicken breast is fat-free and can be enjoyed boiled, grilled, and boiled in salad or soup and whole toast.

Protein Bar

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Protein bars are effective and tasty foods for post-workout. It provides quick nutrients for recovery. There are benefits to occasionally reaching for a bar to get refuel, but before you eat, it is good to learn more about different bars and what nutrients they offer.

Not everyone who exercises is concerned with weight maintenance, but if you know, a post-workout protein bar will not harm and may help. Protein bars are designed to provide good quality of protein, which lower complete calorie intake. Protein bars are more satiating than fats and other carbohydrates. Occasionally eating protein bars reduces the abnormal sugar levels and high fiber.

There is some proof that protein bars can increase muscle gain when you consume them in conjunction with weight training. According to a study issued in Nutrition-Journal in 2004, subjects who consume protein bars every day and perform resistance training for 9-weeks gained lean muscle mass, but who did training without protein bars did not gain. This benefit applies to whey bars or soy bars, which point that specific protein source in the bar is not important.

According to the National-Strength-and-Conditioning-Association,

consuming protein after workout increase muscle gain, lower soreness, and promote recovery training.

Greek Yogurt

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Natural and plain yogurt is consisting of protein and carbohydrates with varying fat content. It also consists of healthy bacteria, which are good for the digestive system and achieve wellbeing. It also contributes to a good amount of calcium, which is crucial for bone building.

Carbohydrates are vital for building energy stores after a workout. You also need it to repair muscles.

Post-workout, you will choose a snack containing a rich combination of proteins and high-quality carbohydrates to refuel. Therefore, the Mayo Clinic advised combining fresh, frozen, or plain yogurt with fruit can be a beneficial snack for a post-workout. This way, you will avoid the added sugar.

Fats

Avocado

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Avocados are good fat for after a workout because the fruit is nutrient-dense and a healthy fat source. Combine avocado with other proteins and carbs to make it more perfect post-workout food.

When purchasing avocados for the week, you wish to buy them in different states of ripeness. A dark green or black avocado that allows gentle pressure if good to eat for day1 or day2, while a gree avocado will be ripe in a few days and a brighten green avocado with getting ripe till the weekend. If you are busy, then refrigerate the ripe avocado for a week.

Therefore, avocado combination with eggs is the best food for healthy fat and protein. If that is spicier for you, you can try ham, cheese, and avocado rolls with a tortilla of whole wheat in place of sandwich bread.

You can also try avocado hummus with raw vegetables and whole wheat pita. The chickpeas consist of both carbs and protein, and the avocado provides a creamy texture dip.

You can also try avocado with stuffed tuna salad. Tuna is a delicious protein and provides a tasty bite.

If you are feeling to have sweet, make avocado smoothie containing Greek yogurt. Additionally, plain greek yogurt with few refine sugars and vanilla extract.

Nuts

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Eating a handful of nuts after a workout helps fiber, protein, and healthy fats to keep the stomach satisfied until you feel hungry. You can keep some nuts with you to eat quickly after a workout.

Nuts quickly provide several nutrition and minerals to boost post-workout recovery.

Eating only nuts may seem expensive, and not everyone affords it. Therefore, take multiple nuts and sprinkle it in different snacks to eat after a workout. This way you will get nuts benefits and remain in budget.

Sample Meals for Post-Workout

Different foods combinations listed above make the meals more nutritious and help in recovery. Here is some easy and quick meals example after workout:

  • Roasted Vegetables and Grilled Chicken
  • Avocado Spread, Omelet, And Toast
  • Sweet Potato with Salmon
  • Wholegrain Bread and Tuna Salad Sandwich.
  • Crackers and Tuna
  • Pita and Hummus
  • Banana, Whey Protein, Oatmeal, And Almonds
  • Fruits and Cottage Cheese
  • Hummus and Pita
  • Peanut Butter and Rice Crackers
  • Almond Butter and Whole-Grain Toast
  • Skim Milk and Cereal
  • Banana and Protein Shake
  • Granola, Greek Yogurt, And Berries
  • Pecans, Berries, And Quinoa Bowl
  • Raw Peanuts and Multi-Grain Bread

Drink More Water

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Drink adequate water before and after a workout. When you retain yourself hydrated, this guarantees to increase results. During the workout, you will lose electrolytes and water from sweat. Staying hydrated after doing a workout helps in performance and improvement. It is particularly essential to replace fluids if your next workout session is within 12 hours. Depending on the intensity of the workout, electrolytes, and water, are recommended to restore the fluid losses.

Herbal Tea

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According to a study in the British-Journal-of-Nutrition discovered that men who consumed yerba mate tea around 200 mL every day were able to have fast recovered from eccentric workout after sipping only water.

Herbal tea also provides phenol antioxidants, which are naturally present in the leaves of the Ilex-paraguariensis shrub belongs to yerba mate. Since yerba mate also consists of naturally occurring stimulants, consuming it before a workout may help to promote energy.

What Foods to Avoid Post Workout

Sugary Shakes

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A protein smoothie is a favorite post-workout food because it quickly helps in recovery. However, not all every protein powders are made the same. Check for sugar content in the protein powders pack. Avoid sugar and artificially sweetened shakes, which limit the workout benefits.

Processed Energy Bars

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While few energy bars can be an easy option for busy days, skip ultra-processed energy bars with processed ingredients. A good way to avoid those processed foods is to read the product list and choose healthily.

Low-Carb Meals

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While protein is popularly known as a post-workout essential, did you also know that carbs are an important part of post-workout recovery and good nourishment? Your body hits into its glycogen store while doing a workout and eating carbs after a workout helps to restore muscles.

You might not know that fruits are incredibly best sources of carbs such as blueberries, bananas, strawberries, and kiwi. You can also choose legumes, fruits, grains, vegetables instead of refined carbohydrates like pasta, bread, and flour products.

Sports Drinks

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Unless you are a professional athlete and run in a marathon, you should not consider sports drinks. It is recommended to avoid sports drinks as they contain high sugar, chemicals, and sweeteners. Although they have marked perfect electrolyte restoration and hydration drinks, which can spike the blood sugar.

Salty Processed Foods

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Desiring salty food after exercise is normal, as we regularly lose water and potassium through perspiring,” Amy says. Yet, rather than going after the crisps, “choosing a nibble, for example, a banana is an extraordinary alternative for renewing potassium levels.

Fried Foods

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Fried foods are not suitable food to eat after a workout. As they are deep-fried and contain trans-fat, they will reduce health benefits.

Also, fatty foods slow down digestion and make you feel sluggish. It is recommended to eat micro-nutrient and nourishing foods to fuel the body post-workout.

Instead of eating fried foods, choose some steamed or baked protein such as chicken or fish along with complex carbs like baked sweet potatoes, boiled rice, and grilled vegetables. These foods provide long-lasting strength and energy.

Caffein

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Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee, which is good for energy, but you should not drink caffeine quickly after a workout. Drinking coffee after a workout may dehydrate your body.  Caffeine may increase the stress hormone called cortisol. The workout is important for health, but it also causes stress to muscles. While cortisol is good but more can cause inflammation, cardiovascular problems, hormonal and immunity imbalance.

Eating Nothing

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Eating nothing after a workout also influences negatively. It is necessary to nourish the body after completing a workout.

Final Thoughts

Keep yourself hydrated, and choose healthy and suitable foods and avoid processed foods. Do not eat one food, which can make you bore, but try combining multiple post-workout foods to make it more delicious and nutritious. If you feel any problem, then switch with other foods listed above.

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