Fueling up post workout
Chances are you’ve given more thought to your pre-workout meal but consuming the right nutrients after you exercise is just as important. Ruchika Nagrath, nutritionist, metabolic balance coach, and diabetes and lifestyle management coach, is here to help you understand its importance and to give you her top post-workout breakfast and beverage suggestions.
Why is it important?
When you workout, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel as well as there is muscle breakdown. After your workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow the muscle proteins. The best post-workout drinks/meals are those that hydrate and replenish lost electrolytes and energy. Including these are a must:
1) Proteins: Exercise triggers breakdown of muscle protein. Consuming an adequate amount of protein after the workout (0.5gms/kg of body weight) soon after your workout (within 30 minutes) helps to rebuild and repair muscles. Studies have shown that ingesting 20-40 gms of protein soon after your workout maximises your body’s ability to recover after exercise.
2) Carbohydrates: Your body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, which are replenished by carbs. If you participate in endurance sports (running, swimming ), you might need to consume more carbs than when doing strength training. Consuming 1.1-1.5gm of complex carbs/kg body weight within 30 minutes of workout helps in proper glycogen resynthesis.
3) Fats: Many people think that eating fat after a workout slows down digestion and inhibits the absorption of nutrients. However good fats (omega 3 sources like avocados, nuts, flaxseed oil) help to reduce inflammation in the muscles and provide relief to sore muscles.
Timing is everything: It’s recommend that you eat your meal within 45 minutes of your workout.
Quick and easy post-workout drinks
1) Avocado smoothie: Omega 3 fats in avocado reduce inflammation in the muscles and the high-fibre keeps you satisfied for hours. Take an avocado, one cup of cantaloupe, one cup of yoghurt, add water and blend.
2) Sweet pineapple and celery juice: Pineapple is loaded with vitamin C, an antioxidant that aids in both tissue growth and repair. Celery helps to reduce the inflammation.
4) Minty apple and spinach smoothie with almonds: Spinach and apple are superfoods packed with tons of nutrients that improve metabolism and immunity.
Quick and easy post-work out meals:
1) Eggs (omelette/boiled/poached) with avocado on whole grain toast
2) Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables
3) Yoghurt with apples or berries
4) Hummus with vegetables on whole grain toast
5) Oats in milk with apple
6) Mandelade (apple with almonds and sunflower seeds)
7) Cottage cheese and fruits
8) Sweet potato with grilled fish
The takeaway here is simple. It’s not only important to consume a post workout meal but also imperative to include the right things in it. Now is a good time to start.