Nutrition, along with sleep and your efforts in the gym is a cornerstone of building your desired physique.
Inadequate nutrition not only lays all your hard work in the gym to waste but can also lead to tiredness during workouts and cause minor as well as major injuries that would keep you away from the gym for an extended period of time.
Even though every meal you eat daily has an effect on your gym goals and physique, what you consume before and after your workout is especially crucial as it largely determines your performance in the gym and the ensuing results afterward.
Here, we are going to focus on post-workout nutrition and list out some of the best foods and beverages that you can consume after an intense workout for getting the best results possible from your gym efforts.
So to begin with, when it comes to post-workout nutrition, consuming foods & beverages aimed at post-workout recovery and muscle-building as early as possible (within 45 minutes) after the completion of your workout is an absolute must.
This is required for avoiding muscle breakdown, and for initiating muscle building and recovery.
An optimal post-workout food/beverage refills the muscle glycogen levels that get depleted during a workout, promotes muscle-building and helps you recover in time for your next workout.
A post-workout meal should ideally consist of a rich protein source, most preferably whey protein which is a fast-releasing protein and is considered as the best protein to consume after a workout, along with a form of carbohydrate.
Fat is something that you may keep for later as it may delay the absorption of protein and carbohydrates in the body.
Also always remember to drink adequate amounts of water before, during and after your workout to stay properly hydrated.
Oatmeal with a protein source
Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates and when combined with a protein-rich food like greek yogurt/whey protein/milk makes for a great post-workout meal that will help refill muscle glycogen stores and promote muscle building.
You can also add a few tablespoons of peanut butter or almond butter to further scale up the nutrient value of the oatmeal.
Eggs with whole-wheat bread
Eggs are a rich source of lean protein and various other nutrients, aiding in muscle-building and muscle recovery after a workout.
They are also very cheap & extremely versatile as they can be consumed in a number of ways.
When combined with whole-wheat bread, the complex carbohydrates present in it adds to the already present high amounts of protein in eggs, delivering the two major nutrients that are required by our body after an intense workout.
Chicken with brown rice and veggies
Chicken is a great lean protein source, providing high amounts of protein that will significantly help in muscle building and muscle recovery.
Brown rice consists of complex carbohydrates, fiber and naturally occurring minerals and vitamins.
Vegetables, especially leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables bring their host of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients to the table.
All these three foods in combination form a highly nutritious meal that will take care of all your body’s post workout needs and more.
A protein shake consisting of whey protein, simple carbohydrates in the form of banana, some peanut butter, and milk would be an appetizing treat replete with nutrients that your body needs after a workout.
It will help spur muscle growth and aid in the recovery of muscles to an improved state.
You can change the ingredients according to your will, using whichever type of milk you want, using almond butter in place of peanut butter if required and even using other types of protein except for casein, but it would be recommended to go for whey protein as your protein source as it is certainly the finest when it comes to post-workout nutrition.
An ideal post-workout smoothie would be one consisting of Greek yogurt and whole fruits as the main ingredients.
The simple carbohydrates present in fruits would help in replenishing muscle glycogen levels while the yogurt would provide you with protein, helping in repairing muscles and decreasing inflammation.
A smoothie consisting of bananas as one of the ingredients would be an ideal choice as it will provide essential electrolytes like potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Nowadays, some of the smoothies also contain a scoop or two of whey protein or other types of protein like vegan protein, thus making them simply one of the best beverages to indulge in after your workout.
Whole-wheat bread with peanut butter
A peanut butter sandwich consisting of whole-wheat bread and natural peanut butter would be a great portable quick-to-prepare snack that will fulfill your post-workout nutrition needs.
Whole-wheat bread, as discussed before, will provide complex carbohydrates that will restore muscle glycogen levels while peanut butter will afford good amounts of protein that will help in muscle building and recovery.
Greek yogurt with berries
Plain Greek yogurt with no added sugar would be a great post-workout food to consume as it has twice the amount of protein found in regular yogurt and also contains calcium, two nutrients which are known to boost post-workout recovery.
Adding a few fresh berries to yogurt like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc. would provide fast-acting simple carbohydrates while also enriching the yogurt with the antioxidants and other nutrients present in berries.
Chocolate milk is perhaps the most savory of all the foods and beverages in this list.
It has the correct combination of carbs to protein, which makes it an ideal post-workout recovery beverage.
Research has backed the effectiveness of low-fat chocolate milk as an exercise recovery drink.
So these were 8 of the most effective foods and beverages that are ideal for consumption after a workout.
All of these above-mentioned foods & beverages provide most of the essential nutrients your body needs after a grueling workout, promoting muscle-building, muscle recovery and replenishing muscle glycogen levels to keep you well on the path to achieving your desired physique in the shortest period of time possible.
So make them a part of your diet and let the results speak for itself.