It’s no secret that exercise alone isn’t enough to get fit. You need a good diet as well. There’s no point in spending time at the gym losing weight if you’re putting it all back on again by eating unhealthy food. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid eating after working out completely. People often don’t want to eat a large meal after the gym because it feels like they’re undoing all of the hard work they just put in. In reality, it’s essential to eat after a workout if you want to see results, you just need to make sure that you’re eating the right stuff. If you aren’t sure what the right stuff is, read this handy guide to post-workout nutrition.
What To Eat
First, what should you be eating? After a hard workout, your muscles need certain things to repair themselves. If you don’t give your body what it needs, you’re far more likely to end up getting injured and you’ll struggle to keep up with your workout routine because you’ll constantly be aching. The 2 main things that you need are protein and carbohydrates. If you’re focused mainly on muscle building, protein is the most important. That’s why you always see people drinking protein shakes when they’re weightlifting. If you don’t like the look of a protein shake, there are plenty of tastier alternatives like protein flapjacks that still give your body what it needs to repair itself. Eating high protein foods like meat or nuts is good as well, just be careful of the fat content.
When you’re doing a lot of cardio, your body needs to replace the energy that you’ve burned off. Protein is still important but you also need to get plenty of carbohydrates in there. If you don’t, you’ll end up feeling tired all of the time. Eggs and fish are the best source of carbohydrates to eat after a workout.
When To Eat
You’ve only got a short window in which to replenish your body if you’re going to see all of the benefits. Usually, you want to be eating something in the first 20 minutes after finishing your workout. Then have your next full meal around 2 hours later. If you leave it too long, your muscles won’t repair themselves effectively.
How Much To Eat
While it’s important to eat after your workout, you need to get the amount right, otherwise, you’ll start gaining weight. Your body can only process certain amounts of protein and carbohydrates so you want to eat fairly small portions of easily digestible food. Your specific requirements depend on your size, the intensity of the workout and your goals. However, there are some basic guidelines you can follow; as a general rule, you should try to have around 15-35 grams of protein and 30-100 grams of carbohydrates in your post-workout meal.
There’s no point exercising if you don’t give your body everything it needs to repair itself afterwards. If you really want to see good results, you need to get your post-workout meal right.