Not only may you be super hungry, but what you eat after a workout is crucial to help you build muscle and replenish your hard working muscles. Your post workout snack should be carb-rich, high in protein and low fat or fat free for quick digestion. This combo will replenish your hardworking muscles and aid in muscle building. Take in about 200 calories after your workout, and do so immediately, or as soon as you can after exercise.
After a workout, high glycemic index carbohydrates are best. They replenish what you burned during your workout. This is your chance to eat white bread, white potatoes, pretzels and white rice. Just be sure to pair them with a lower-fat protein source.
Your best post workout choice is a liquid snack. Your digestive system takes a break during your workout, so as your systems get running again, a liquid snack is easily digested. A protein shake or high protein smoothie will give you all the macronutrients that you need. Try a shake made with protein powder, or blend a smoothie at home. Combine a container of fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt with a banana, berries and a bit of orange juice. Toss in a cup of crushed ice and blend away. Both drinks will replenish your body in about 200 calories. Just be sure to check the protein powder for minimal added calories.
Meal Fake Outs
Some choices feel more like a meal than a snack. This helps you refuel your body, while tricking your mind into feeling like you’ve eaten a meal. This could help you cut calories later in the day if you are trying to lose weight. Pair leftover lean protein with some of those high GI carbs after an intense workout.
Stuff half a low calorie pita, or spread half a bagel, with 4 oz sliced chicken or turkey, mustard and some veggies, like tomatoes and spinach. Or, try an egg white omelet made with whatever veggies you have in the fridge — peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes all make great choices. Top it with a little parmesan cheese for a low fat cheesy bite. Brown rice topped with black beans is a high protein, extremely low fat option as well. Or, just roll the beans into a low fat tortilla and top with salsa or hot sauce for a post workout burrito.
Running errands after the gym? No worries! Toss a jar of natural peanut butter in your gym bag, and, every time you hit the gym, toss in a sliced apple. Dip the slices in about 1 tbsp peanut butter. This higher fat choice isn’t ideal, but definitely replenishes lost nutrients. Low fat cheese sticks and a few crackers do the trick, too. Or that greek yogurt–skip the smoothie and just top it with berries for a tasty and sweet post workout treat.
After the post workout snack, have a full meal within the next two hours to maximize the post workout after burn. Be sure to balance your snack calories with the rest of your meals for the day for the highest performance, energy intense lifestyle.