When and What Should I Eat After Working Out?
After working out, you have a 30-to-60 minute window to eat. If you wait longer, your body will go into starvation mode and you will not burn calories as efficiently. Also, if you wait too long, you will likely get overly hungry and may make a bad decision about what to eat.
An ideal post workout meal should include both protein and carbohydrates. Protein contains essential amino acids that are the building blocks for building new lean tissue. Carbohydrates are also extremely important to your muscles after a workout. Without carbs, your body will start to break down muscle tissue itself in order to restore the muscle glycogen levels that are lacking after a workout. Carbs not only restore these levels but also will create an insulin spike, which will help move the nutrients to your muscle tissue even faster.
Use the plate method to create a perfect and satisfying post-workout meal: Fill a quarter of your plate with lean protein, a quarter with starch, and half with veggies. If the recovery meal is breakfast, try 2 eggs, 2 pieces of whole grain toast, and 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt. Another alternative if you are short on time, or if between mealtimes, is a protein shake. Some protein powders have carbohydrates in them for the perfect post workout recovery meal, or you can add fruit to your protein drink for added carbohydrate or flavor enhancement. Please see our recipe section for some great protein shake recipes.
Fitness Tip: Make your shake before you workout and take it with you to ensure you capitalize on that 30-60 minute window.