Simply working out in the gym won’t help you gain muscle and strength. What you eat after you work out matters too!
Why do you ask? Muscles store excess energy in the form of glycogen and protein. When you workout, the body needs fuel – pre-workout meals takes care of that. But after that, it begins to break down glycogen stored in muscles. Within a couple of hours, muscle protein drops and muscles start breaking down.
It is essential to refuel your body, post-workout, to ensure that you replenish energy reserves and repair muscle tissue. The body needs carbs and proteins – and experts recommend that you consume them right after you work out and when your blood is circulating best.
How much of proteins and carbs should you aim for? If you’re looking to build muscle, eat at least 30 gm of protein and 30-35 gm of carbs within 15 minutes of your workout. Those who’re looking to lose weight or stay in shape must make sure they eat within 45 minutes of their workout.
Try our suggestions for the top post-workout meals and maximise the gains of your exercise session.
EGG-WHITE OMELETTE WITH SPINACH
The egg never makes it to most superfood lists but it’s a superfood par excellence. Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet and contain small amounts of every nutrient the body needs. Egg protein is considered to be the most readily usable protein – it is used most efficiently for growth by the body. Spinach, one of the most alkaline foods, is loaded with iron and a form of plant steroids that speed up muscle growth. When two egg whites and spinach come together, they create a muscle-making omelette.
Nutrition value: Fat: 11 gm, protein: 13 gm, carbs: 15 gm
HUMMUS & PITA BREAD
We all know that the Arabic dip is one of the most popular “sites” in the world. Made from cooked and mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic, hummus packs a protein-full punch. This protein-rich snack keeps you feeling satiated for way longer. Combine with a whole-wheat pita for a complete post-workout meal.
Nutrition value of Hummus: Fat: 8 gm, protein: 6 gm, carbs: 18 gm
Calories: 162 (six-tablespoon serving)
Nutrition value of Whole-wheat pita: Fat: 1.7 gm, protein: 6.3 gm, carbs: 35.2 gm
Calories: 170 (1 large)
YOGURT & CEREAL
Yogurt scores high when it comes to nutritional benefits. About 150 gms of yogurt will provide you with almost 20 percent of your daily vitamin D requirement and 20 percent of your daily calcium value. Apart from being a good source of protein and carbs, yogurt is also rich in leucine, an amino acid that enhances muscle growth after you exercise. The carbohydrates replace your muscles’ energy stores that are depleted after a workout. Mix your yogurt up with a bit of cereal to add crunch. Look for one that’s high in protein and fibre.Nutrition value: Fat: 3 gm, protein: 10 gm, carbs: 3.6 gm
Yogurt (100 gm)
The smoothie is the simplest power breakfast you can have. What makes it an extremely great post-workout food is the fact that it’s so versatile. Yogurt, milk, mango, banana, strawberries, apples, papaya, dried fruits, seeds – there’s a lot you can do with the fruit smoothie. Add to that the fact that liquid meals are easily digested and quickly absorbed by the body. Whip up a protein smoothie to keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you’re bored with the fruit versions, try healthy green smoothies before heading to the gym. Calorie and nutritional counts differ depending on what you pop into the blender. Figure out how many calories you’re taking in by clicking here.
DRIED FRUITS & NUTS
For days when you’re on the go and must rush from the gym to work or another appointment, dried fruits and nuts are the perfect post-workout snack. In fact, making a small tin with this healthy mixture a fixture in your gym bag is an extremely good idea. The nuts provide a healthy dose of protein while the dried fruits are chock-a-block with simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs are way better consumed post-workout as they are easy to digest and replenish muscle glycogen faster than complex carbs.
Nutrition value: Fat: 25 gm, protein: 11 gm, carbs: 27 gm
Calories: 300 (approximately for a half-cup serving)
Exercise right, eat right, and remember never to overtrain!