The way we refuel after a workout has a lot of impact on how our body recovers.
6 Reasons You Need to Refuel After a Workout
To reduce inflammation
Micro-muscle tears occur during workouts and the inflammation will affect the healing progress of these muscle tears. The goal is to refuel yourself with foods that reduce inflammation.
To give support to the immune system
A workout affects an amino acid that naturally refuels the immune system, especially if the exercise is intense. That amino acid is glutamine. Taking glutamine after a workout will help support the immune system.
To replenish muscle glycogen
It is also important to replenish muscle glycogen. Foods that provide a good source of carbohydrates will replenish muscle glycogen. This also assists in muscle repair after a workout. Glycogen can come from simple carbohydrates. Learn more about them here.
To repair soft tissue
During a workout, our focus is mostly on muscle, but the soft tissue is also affected. Therefore, we must repair worn-out soft tissue as well. Soft tissue is responsible for the connections that exist between joints, muscles, and organs. Glucosamine is the micronutrient that will help in nourishing soft tissue. This results in the reduction of joint pain and improvement of circulation.
To support the hormones
Working out is a stressful activity that causes stress hormones such as cortisol, to elevate. It is essential to manage these hormones. The body needs a rich source of amino acid to manage stress, increase energy, stamina, and promote vitality.
Everyone knows that rehydration is critical for an effective workout. Electrolytes and fluids are affected, and it is important to replenish these. Foods that contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, chloride are recommended. These assist the regulation of the flow of nutrients in and out of cells. It also helps in the function of nerves in general.
Which Macronutrients are Most Important to Eat Post-Workout?
Next, let’s look at the macronutrients that are beneficial after a workout. Two macronutrients are good for post-workout: protein and carbohydrates.
It is believed that protein is an essential macronutrient that is necessary post-workout. Protein repairs and builds muscle and replenishes the body with essential amino acids.
In addition, it also gives the body needed building blocks for the production of new muscle tissue. Amino acids found in protein help increase muscle protein synthesis. Food with good protein replenishes glycogen as well.
As mentioned earlier, carbohydrates are helpful when it comes to recovery. During a workout, your body makes use of the glycogen stored in the body as fuel. It is necessary to refuel it post-workout. Carbohydrates not only replenish glycogen but also decrease levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), which increases during the workout.
It is recommended to eat both protein and carbs to stimulate insulin secretion. Insulin secretion helps in promoting glycogen synthesis.
Calculate your daily macros for carbs, proteins, and fats here.
Worst Post-Workout Foods
As it is essential to know the best kinds of foods to eat during post-workout, it is also important to know the foods to avoid during post-workout.
Avoid oily foods
Avoid foods that are high in fat. Such foods are believed to slow down digestion.
Avoid nuts and nut butter
While foods rich in protein are beneficial during recovery, nuts and nut butter are not recommended for post-workout. They possess high levels of fats that slow down digestion.
Avoid red meat
The presence of fat in red meat slows down the metabolic process in the body during post-workout.
Working out dehydrates the body and coffee will only further dehydrate you. So whether you work out in the morning or the evening, try not to drink coffee post-workout.
Next time you workout, try these tips for your post-workout meal and see how it makes a difference toward reaching your fitness goals.