Properly Refuel: The Best Post-Workout Food for Optimal Health

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Your stomach growls as you exit the gym, and you feel a bit shakey. It’s time to replenish the nutrients you lost while you were on the treadmill. 

You don’t want to undo all the good you did by exercising. That leaves you wondering what the best post-workout food is. Should you eat a full-on meal or snack on a handful of dried fruit and nuts? 

We’re here to say that both options are good. The one you choose depends on where your stomach is at. If you don’t feel like eating at all, you can always down some chocolate milk. 

These are only a few meal tips to keep in mind. Keep reading to learn what post-workout recovery food will work for you. 

Why You Shouldn’t Skip Out on Eating

After leaving the gym, the last thing you want to think about is food. Your stomach is still in knots from running on the treadmill and lifting. 

No matter how averse you are to eating you still need to put something on your stomach. You see, as you work out, your body uses your reserves of carbohydrates and glycogen.

Your cells also take on some damage while you’re in the gym. It’s a good idea to give them some TLC by consuming a healthy dose of antioxidants. 

If you fail to eat, it will reduce your body’s ability to heal. You’ll be too sore to do any more significant exercise for a while. If you try to work out the day after, you’ll find your performance lacking. 

Nutrients Your Body Needs

So, now that you know why you should eat, it’s time to discuss what kind of nutrients you need. Your body should get a healthy supply of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. 

Carbs 

Again, as you work out in the gym, your body uses its glycogen reserves as fuel to keep you going. The best way to replenish it is to consume healthy carbs after your workout. 

We know that carbs have a bad reputation, but if your goal is muscle building, you’re not going to get too far without keeping your muscle glycogen reserves going. 

Proteins 

Carbs aren’t the only thing your body needs to build muscle. You’ve also got to have a good helping of protein. Your body breaks down your muscle protein while you’re working out. 

That’s one of the reasons why you’re so sore the day after you leave the gym. Consuming foods that are rich in protein will allow your body to build up the amino acids it needs to replenish the protein that you lost. 

It will jumpstart the repair process and even help your body create new muscles. 

Fats

Fats most likely have a worse reputation than carbs when it comes to the best foods to eat post-workout. The key is you want to consume healthy fats. We’re not telling you to hit up a drive-thru after your trip to the gym is over. 

Going overboard will hinder your body’s ability to absorb the helpful nutrients in your post-workout meal. Drinking whole milk, for example, can help your body replenish some of the glycogen that it lost, though. 

Best Post-Workout Food 

There are several ways you can get some of the nutrients that we talked about above. You could chug an after-workout smoothie or eat a balanced meal of eggs and whole-grain toast. 

Eggs and Whole-Grain Toast

Eggs are such a universal food. There are a million and one ways to prepare them. You can hardboil them, whip them up in an omelet, or go with the classic scrambled option. 

On top of being a flexible food option, eggs also contain plenty of protein that your body needs for muscle recovery. The toast is a good source of healthy carbs. 

Smoothies 

When you make a smoothie with fruits and veggies, you’ll be getting a great dose of antioxidants. They can protect your muscles from taking on too much damage from your workout. They can also help out with muscle repair. 

You can add anything to smoothies, from protein powder to deer antler velvet. Whatever you need to get the most out of your workout routine. 

Chocolate Milk

If you want to reach for something a little sweet after your workout, chocolate milk is probably the best post-workout food for muscle gain. It has protein, carbs, and electrolytes. 

It’s everything your body needs for muscle recovery after a long afternoon at the gym. 

 

What Should You Avoid Eating? 

You know what you should eat, but what should you avoid consuming after a workout? While your body does need protein, you shouldn’t eat pure protein right after you exercise. Your body will just use it all up for fuel, and you won’t get anything out of it. 

Don’t eat anything that is composed mostly of sugar. You can have chocolate as long as it’s more than 70% cocoa. Try to stay away from foods that are high in sodium, and white bread and pasta are a no-go. 

Get the Most Out of Your Workout by Eating the Proper Foods 

If you’re going to recover after your exercise and make the most out of your time at the gym, you’re going to need to reach for the best post-workout food. 

Your body needs a nice balance of carbs, fats, and proteins to build up muscle. Antioxidants aren’t a bad addition either. Having them can boost your recovery process and help you get back to the gym sooner. 

For more tips that will keep you fit, visit the Lifestyle section of our blog. 

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