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I’ve been going to the gym lately, about three times a week. I spend about two hours each visit. After stretching, I do strength training and then Zumba class. When I’m done, I feel great but am exhausted and famished. It’s very tempting for me to just grab anything for lunch, but that would undo all the hard work I just did. However, I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way after a hard workout.
Most people know that a healthy diet and exercise go hand in hand. But a protein shake or salad doesn’t always sound enticing when your body is screaming for a cheeseburger or something else unhealthy. Don’t fret! Here are some tips that will help prevent you from derailing your progress and stay on the health track.
The Importance of Eating Healthy and Nutritionally After a Workout
When thinking about our health journey, gut health is something we always hear about but is often overlooked. Supporting your gut health is not only beneficial for digestion, but for whole-body function, which is something to keep in mind for your workout routine. I recommend Seed —they’ve created a synbiotic that’s clinically and scientifically studied and designed to support whole-body health. The “DS-01™ Daily Synbiotic” is a pre-and-probiotic capsule that promotes digestive health, cardiovascular health, healthy skin, supports folate (vitamin B9) production and much more. Their 24 strain formulation is engineered to survive your entire digestive tract, unlike most other probiotics, which means you’re really going to reap the benefits of the probiotics.
If you are looking to purchase some delicious energy bars then Verb Energy is the best place, It produces energy bars and caffeinated food and it also makes simple, healthy, tasty energy products anyone can enjoy.
Timing can be Crucial
Some people believe that when to eat is just as important as what to eat. Ideally you’re supposed to eat about 30 minutes after a workout, one hour at the most. Why? Because after you exercise, your muscles are somewhat damaged and will start self-repairing. It’s the perfect time to replace the nutrients that you lost from working out. This 30-minute gap is referred to as the “anabolic window”. Although some follow this rule stringently, some studies suggest that eating during the anabolic window is necessary only if you didn’t eat for several hours prior to your workout and thus need immediate nutrition replenishment.
If you do choose to follow the anabolic window, then consider bringing along a protein shake to the gym as a quick snack once you’ve finished your workout. In my case, since I shower before leaving the gym, and driving home, it can take me almost an hour before I can finally eat something. But since I eat breakfast about two to three hours prior to working out, I think I’m ok.
Carbs and Protein are Your Friends (after a workout)
Although carbohydrates have been vilified for many years, they are just what you need after strenuous exercise. When you work out, your muscles use a large amount of carbs for energy while protein is depleted. Protein provides you with amino acids, which are the building blocks for muscle growth and are considered an essential supplement by top bodybuilders. You can get your proteins in many forms, including powder and bars from bodybuilding.com. Therefore, your body will need to replenish them once it goes into repair mode. However, what it doesn’t need is fat so try to avoid foods high in fat. And of course, don’t forget a tall glass of water.
Some Healthy Post-Workout Meals and Snacks
Peanut Butter Sandwich
A simple peanut butter sandwich on whole grain toast is a healthy and delicious light lunch or snack. Skip the sugary jelly and instead add some sliced bananas!
Salmon is one of my favorite kinds of fish not only because it’s yummy, but it’s also very healthy. Packed with omega 3s and other vitamins, salmon is a terrific source of protein. Pair it with a baked potato or sweet potato, and you have a delicious, muscle-building lunch.
I like veggie omelets because they’re really fast to make, which is great when you’re starving. Dice the veggies the day before and put them in containers, then when you’re ready just take everything out.
If you are looking to explore more plant-based options, try Splendid Spoon. Splendid Spoon offers ready-to-eat meals like smoothies, soups, grain bowls, and noodles. All meals are curated with your health in mind to help kick-start your health journey and discover yummy ingredients and recipes you wouldn’t think to incorporate!
This is a classic, standby healthy meal. Pair the grilled chicken breast with a veggie salad, baked potato, or sweet potato salad as in the above photo.
Avocado Toast with Egg
Here we are again with avocado toast! I like mine very simple, with just slices of avocado and hard-boiled egg on toasted whole grain bread, with a bit of salt and pepper. It’s surprisingly filling.
Cheese and Crackers
Cheese and crackers is a simple, fast snack. Stick to low-fat cheeses and whole grain crackers. Consider topping with a small slice of turkey or ham as added protein.
Hydration is Key
Healthy food is crucial, but without water, your body cannot function the way it’s supposed to. If you struggle to begin staying hydrated because you don’t like water, try new ways of introducing it into your diet. One amazing way to do this is to try sparkling water. SodaStream has an awesome sparkling water maker that can help you make sparkling water in just a few minutes! It’s tasty and it helps you maintain hydration without a challenge.
What are some of your favorite, go-to post-workout meals and snacks? Feel free to share some of your recipes and ideas in the comments