Post-workout meals or snacks are of utmost importance for those who actively train. Training takes a toll on your body and requires lots of different nutrients that help with a variety of processes such as protein synthesis, energy production and much more. Let’s take a look at a few post workout meals with minimal ingredients that you can make in under 5 minutes.
What is the Purpose Behind Post Workout Meals?
The two primary nutrients your body needs after training are carbohydrates and protein, which are called macronutrients. Macronutrients are larger nutrients that your body makes use of for recovery and energy production.
Carbohydrates are our body’s primary energy source stored in our muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. However, excessive consumption of carbs causes fat gains, which is why you’ll sometimes hear people talk poorly about carbohydrates.
Protein is needed for your muscle to go through protein synthesis. After training at higher intensities, your muscles become damaged and torn. This is why you feel sore following a workout. Protein is used to help these damaged muscle fibers heal and grow as it is sent through your bloodstream to replace or repair these damaged proteins. The end result is stronger and denser muscle fibers, which is why your muscles appear larger over time.
Related: How I Fuel My Workouts
Nutrient Timing Post Workout
The timing of when you eat your post-workout meal or snack is actually important as well with the ideal window being up to two hours. Believe it or not, the anabolic effect on muscle from protein immediately following a workout is short lived, which means you can eat protein rich foods with a carbohydrate within 2 hours of training to maximize your recovery and results.
Post Workout Whey Protein Shake
One of the easiest post-workout meals you can make is a protein shake usually made with whey protein, fruits and/or vegetables, and other ingredients depending on your calorie needs. Quality whey protein is usually less than 150 calories per scoop; contains little carbs and little to no fat as well.
Berries add in the carbs that give extra energy almost immediately, plus the antioxidants they provide help reduce the muscle inflammation leading to less soreness. Now, you have the choice to use water or milk depending on your nutrient needs. Generally milk is used for more calories and extra protein.
If you are seeking to put on serious mass for muscle conversion, then you can also add peanut butter to allow more calories to be consumed containing protein, fats and carbs. Add in a half cup of oats for more fiber and calories.
Cottage Cheese with Mango and Mandarin Oranges
This one may sounds a little like dessert, and it tastes like one too. Mangoes may be hard to find depending on your location, so you can swap in pineapple or another fruit. The sweetness of these fruits brings the carbs that your body will enjoy to replenish energy, plus you can add banana slices for extra potassium to relieve muscle cramps.
Cottage cheese is full of protein that is slowly digested. Slow digesting protein is good for easing away food cravings and is released over a period of time instead of being quickly absorbed like whey protein. Some prefer to eat cottage cheese before bed because it is mainly casein protein. Research shows that whey protein is no better post workout than casein, so a lot are switching to casein if they have the money to afford it.
Deli Chicken Sandwich with Vegetables and Cheese
Chicken contains little saturated fats and plenty of protein, which makes it a nice post workout food to consider. A sandwich seems a little dull, but we often forget how simple our meals can be while stressing out over making complex food items. Simply purchase a quality loaf of whole grain bread, which is rich in fiber and protein as well. Add baby spinach and kale leaves along with slices of tomato and top with a slice of cheese and mayo for a nice post-workout meal that is inexpensive and takes less than 5 minutes to make.
Post Workout Meals Don’t Need to be Complicated
As you can see, a post-workout meal doesn’t need to be complicated as long as it contains protein and some type of carb. Just be sure to avoid overly process sources since this causes nutrients to be stripped away and always remember that protein is vital to prevent muscle loss post-workout.