Post-Gym Grub to Grab

A bowl of baked chicken and fresh vegetables.You’ve completed one of the best workouts of your life, and while an extra-large pizza may be what you think you deserve, you might want to consider a different post-workout meal. Eating after a workout is all about replacing the calories you just burned. What can you eat that is healthy, won’t undermine your progress and helps your body recover from the workout?

Fuel the Burn

According to several studies, your muscles use some of the body’s glycogen for fuel during your workout. Glycogen is the primary way the body stores glucose for later use. Most of the carbs we consume end up as glucose, and storing some of that helps regulate blood glucose levels. In addition to your body consuming some of your glycogen, the proteins in your muscles may begin to break down or become damaged during rigorous workouts.

You Are What You Eat

Post workout, your body is in repair mode. The body is rebuilding its glycogen stores, repairing damage to muscle proteins and increasing muscle growth. If you eat the right foods – such as carbohydrates and lean protein – after you work out, you can help your body accomplish this more quickly.

Here are a few meals that help you accomplish this more quickly:

  • Lean proteins - grilled chicken, fish or tofu and mixed vegetables
  • Proteins and good fats - vegetable omelet with avocado
  • Complex carbs – brown rice, nuts or whole wheat bread
  • Low calorie and high fiber – tuna sandwich with hummus spread

When to Grab a Nosh

Depending on when you have your sweat session, you should try and eat within 30 minutes of your workout to help restore energy. If you aren’t able to eat a whole meal right away, have a snack within 20 minutes and a meal three to four hours later. Keep an eye on your munching post workout. Try to stick to 150 calories for a snack and about 500 for your meal. Make sure you’re rehydrating after your workout.

Talk with your primary care physician before starting any new workout regimes or changes in your eating habits. Consider consulting with a personal trainer about the workouts you’re doing and what foods are best to eat before and after. To find out more about personal training at BayCare, visit one of our three fitness center locations.