You know if you should exercise on an empty stomach, and you know what to eat before your workout, and the timing your pre-workout snack. Now, find out what to eat after exercise.
Eating the right snack after your workout session is extremely important to your fitness level. It helps your body build muscle, improves calorie burn, and prevents muscle catabolism (body using muscle for energy).
Post workout nutrition is key since after your workout, your muscles are sore and all the glycogen from your muscles in completely depleted. Your muscles are in a repair mode, and what you need to do is supply them with the right nutrition to help repair damaged muscle and build further on the existing muscle.
What should you eat after exercise? Your post workout snack should be low fat and have a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 2:1. This snack needs a higher carbohydrate content because your muscles’ glycogen stores are depleted and to repair them, you supply them with nutrients your body needs fast dissolving carbohydrates. So, this is the time you want to eat simple carbohydrates (understand carbs and Glycemic Index). Yes, this is the one time that we really sugar is actually good for your body. The protein should be preferably whey protein since it is absorbed faster by your body.
When should you eat a snack after exercise? Your post workout snack should be eaten within 30 minutes of completing your workout. This time window represents the time frame during which your muscles are primed to absorb nutrition.
Why should your post workout meal be low fat? Being low fat will help your body absorb the nutrition faster. If your post workout snack is high in fat, it slows down digestion and thus absorption in your body. Besides that, studies have shown that post workout snacks high in fat blunt the production of growth hormone in the body.
What's important in a post workout snack? For this snack, high nutrient absorption rate is key. If your snack is liquid, all the better. An ideal post workout shake is low fat chocolate milk. Or a whey protein shake with honey, or other simple carbohydrates. Another simple snack is low fat yoghurt with granola- yoghurt has a combination of whey protein (fast absorbing protein) and casein (slow absorbing protein), and the granola will give you fast absorbing carbohydrates. At this time, you can also pop in a multivitamin with your snack. The vitamins and minerals are micronutrients that help perform body functions and help with building muscle.
If you're going to use whey protein, make sure you use a high quality whey protein, for best results.