The most important thing in a post workout meal is timing of eating. Just after exercise the blood flow is still working the muscle. Now our aim is to supply the body with the required nutrients, its just like hitting the iron when its hot.
The goal is to supply the body with sources of protein and carbohydrates to begin the anabolic (repair and rebuild) and glycogen storage (refueling) phases.
The Best Thing To Eat After A Workout
- Exercise has a catabolic effect (breaking down) on muscle tissue.
- Protein is needed to switch from a catabolic state to an anabolic one.
- Carbohydrates are essential to muscle recovery by replenishing glycogen stores in muscle tissue and speeding up preparation for the next bout of activity.
After an intense workout, your body is in such a state that absorbs the proteins and carbohydrates more easily.
- The best thing to eat after a workout is a high quality protein that can be easily digested by your body and so that it goes from catabolic to anabolic state.
- A high quality whey protein is perfect because it fulfills all the requirements.
- Most of the people consider the post workout meal to be the most important meal.
Some people call this the ‘magic window’.
Post Workout Foods
- When you eat something with a high glycemic index, it will allow your body to replenish the glycogen reserves in your muscles. It’s like you’re refueling your muscles fast.
- The sugar also briefly elevates your insulin levels. Insulin is a shuttling hormone that helps you store even more macro-nutrients into your body.
- The brief insulin elevation together with your body’s natural ‘magic window’ works together with your post-workout meal to give you optimal benefits.
Whey protein serves as the best source of amino acids for tissue repair postworkout. Whey has a 100 percent bioavailability. In other words, 100 percent of what is consumed is used. Compare that to whole-food options such as egg whites (88 percent), fish (83 percent) or chicken (79 percent), and it is easy to see why it is preferred. Furthermore, and more importantly, whey protein is digested faster than any other protein source. The goal is to maximize nutrient uptake while blood flow is enhanced.
Watermelon, bananas, raisins and potatoes are carbs that should be consumed postexercise. These foods are relatively moderate to high on the glycemic index. Their rapid digestion and absorption make them optimal for uptake into recently worked muscle tissue for the replenishing of muscle glycogen. However, they do offer nutrients the body needs, as well. After working out is the only time where it is recommended to avoid fiber, since it tends to slow down digestion, which is counterproductive to postworkout refueling.
Water, sports drinks and 100 percent natural juices are all viable considerations for postexercise drinks. Water is essential to reinstitute the body's water balance. This can also be achieved by consuming fortified sports drinks that will not only add water back to the body but also supply carbohydrates and the electrolytes (sodium, potassium) lost during sweating. Carbs in sports drinks are proportioned to avoid overconsumption, which could lead to a delay in gastric emptying and fluid absorption.
When to Eat After A Workout
Wait 30 minutes to eat after a workout (within an hour of working out).
Your blood will be pumping to the major muscle groups that you have just been training.
Your digestive system doesn’t work optimally at this time because digestion requires your body to pump blood to your stomach.
The 30 minute break allows your body to recover.
This is also why you want a protein and carbohydrate food that is easily digested.
However, if you eat an hour after your workout, the ‘magic window’ will have closed and you will not get the full benefits of the post workout meal.