What Is Your Favorite Post-Workout Meal?
We’ve put in the effort to set our goals, planned our workout, and had our session. But the journey to a healthier and fitter body doesn’t stop there.
Muscle growth continues to happen post-workout, and this is when your post-workout nutrition plays a significant role. Your post-workout food will provide the raw materials to repair damaged tissues and construct new ones.
During intense exercises, muscles used the stored glycogen as fuel. The result is, muscles are partially depleted of the stored energy, and muscle fibers are damaged and broken down.
Think of the post-workout hours as a time when the body is going through a series of mini injuries at the micro-level. It needs to recover, just as it would if you were to heal from an injury or surgery.
Here are some nutrients to include in your post-workout meal or snack:
Protein, Carbs, and Fat
These are your macronutrients, and they each have a role to play:
Protein is the building block for the body to recover, repair, and build new muscles. A study in 2007 suggested that as little as 9 grams of milk protein is enough to provide the benefits and milk protein is more effective than soy protein.
Healthful carbohydrates such as whole grain, fruits, and starchy root vegetables such as sweet potatoes or pumpkin are great ways to replenish the glycogen stores.
Evidence suggests that fat from fatty fish reduces muscle soreness after resistance training and there is research that shows that adding omega-3 fatty acid helps with muscle growth in healthy adults.
Vitamin C, Zinc, and many other
Vitamin C is needed in collagen formation and plays a part in tissue healing. Zinc, found in many animal foods such as meat, fish/seafood, poultry, and grains, also aid muscle repair. On top of these, vitamins and minerals need to work together to fight inflammation and build strength and immunity.
In an intense workout, your digestion and immunity temporarily shut down to support what the body needs to do. In these after hours, you want something nutrient-dense and easily digestible.
Soups are one of the best ways to get all you need in one pot while helping to rehydrate you.
Broth made from bones, meat, and vegetables is full of protein and nutrients. Use both leafy and root vegetables and beans in your soup to pile on fiber and antioxidants. Serve with healthful carbohydrates mentioned and grains such as barley, brown rice, or quinoa to help replenish the energy lost.
For those who are calories cautious, here’s the good news:
Apart from cream-based soups, soups are generally lower in calories and rich in nutrients. Studies have also found that those who eat soup tend to have lower daily calorie intake and body weight.
For centuries, the Chinese have used bone broth as a base to a wide variety of tonic dishes and serve postnatal mothers chicken soup; Japanese take pride in serving ramen only with the best pork bone broth and feed sumo wrestlers stews made with chicken stock.
We don’t know how grandmothers, from east to west, found out that chicken soup is the remedy for every sickness. Research today showed that chicken soup may offer anti-inflammatory benefits, making it a useful cold remedy, just like what our grandmothers said.
There are so many recipes to choose from, and you can easily freeze and store any excess. Soups are just an excellent way for the active ones to meet their nutritional needs.
What is your favorite post-workout meal?