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Post Workout Meals

Your diet plays an important role in enhancing the benefits of your workout.  A well-balanced diet can help you replenish essential nutrients lost during the workout. At the same time, post workout meals can ensure that your body does not regain the calories lost during exercise. For many of us working individuals, we hit the gym or perform physical activity at the end of a long day. Post exercise night meals require special attention in this case. What should we eat?
How much should we eat? What do we need to avoid in our meals? There is plenty of literature regarding pre and post fitness exercise meals, focusing on protein and carb intake, time of ingestion, and portion sizes, depending on your goals of weight loss or muscle building.

You already know that hydrating yourself during and post workout is essential for your body. Workout sessions demand that you drink plenty of fluids as part of your post workout meal plan. Some fitness experts may recommend the use of protein or slimming shakes during this period. The idea is to help you hydrate and gain the benefits of a heightened metabolism. For individuals on a weight loss diet or muscle building diet, post workout supplements in meals helps to augment the need for bigger portions after an intensive workout. Two essential nutrients required by your body post workout include protein and carbohydrates. The amount of proteins and carbohydrates in post exercise meals may differ for different individuals. It is best to consult your dietitian or nutritionist to discuss the amount of proteins and carbs required for your specific needs.

Experts recommend eating your after exercise meals within 30 minutes after your workout. Ensure that your post workout meals consist of proteins such as lean cuts of meat, seafood and poultry. Post fitness exercise meals for vegetarians may consist of lentils and legumes, nuts, dried fruits and seeds. Another option you may consider for vegetarians includes soy protein. Soybean and soy products such as soy milk and tofu act as ideal protein intake for vegetarians and vegans. You may also consider trying whey protein in the form of shakes or curds as post workout supplements in meals. While protein helps in the process of muscle building, it is equally important for fitness enthusiasts to consume the adequate amount of carbohydrates. This is especially true in the case of post exercise meals for runners. Carbohydrates help to refuel lost energy resources. It boosts the recovery process by replenishing drained glycogen resources.

After Exercise Meals For Women & Men

While most of us assume that meals for women and men must consist of some proteins and carbohydrates, we never really question the amount, the resources, and more importantly, the need for differing amounts of food. The primary difference between meals for women and men after a workout session should focus on questions such as weight loss and muscle building. Since men burn more calories during exercise than women, it is natural for them to replenish their calorie stores by consuming adequate amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Post exercise meals for men must consist of proteins such as lean cuts of meat, eggs and chicken, seafood, and plant sources of proteins such as lentils and legumes, peas and beans, nuts and seeds.

Women, on the other hand, tend to lose muscle mass and must refuel by consuming adequate amount of carbohydrates. Your body needs to restore the glycogen lost during workout and it is best to consume carbohydrates within 30 minutes of your workout for maximum benefit. Meals that can help men and women benefit from their workouts include:

  • Chicken: This is an excellent form of lean protein. Add a portion of carbohydrates to your meal by consuming white or brown rice. You may also consume additional low calorie carbohydrate foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Protein: Proteins from dried beans such as hummus made from garbanzo beans or baked beans along with carbs such as pita breads or whole-wheat tortillas.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates from whole wheat and other whole grains ensure that your body works twice as much to absorb it. You can also turn to dried fruits and nuts for your additional dose of proteins.

Post Exercise Meals For Weight Loss

Along with an intense workout, it is important to focus on nutrition to manage your weight loss goals. You may notice that despite your best efforts at exercise, you are unable to shed those excess pounds. Consuming the wrong kinds of food or indulging in excess food post workout may interfere with your fat loss goals. Worse, inattention to post workout meals will result in fatigue and slow muscle recovery.

To restore the glycogen levels in the body, it is important to consume foods with a high glycemic index within thirty to sixty minutes after your workout session. Your meals must include adequate amounts of protein and carbohydrates along with essential micronutrients.

While proteins form an essential part of meals for weight loss, talk to your doctor or dietitian about the amount of proteins necessary for your specific needs. Individuals on a weight loss routine may consider incorporating lean cuts of meat, poultry, seafood, and plant sources for their protein requirement. As part of the post fitness exercise meals for fat loss, carbohydrate intake in the form of whole grains, fruits and vegetables is essential. Post workout nutrition may include whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, wheat bagels, and whole grain bread. Individuals on a fat loss diet may also consider oatmeal or oat bran and whole grain cereals with low fat milk.

Post Workout Meals For Muscle Building

When considering meals for mass, your nutrition needs must focus on foods that will help you lose weight and, at the same time, build lean muscle mass. Post workout, your body enters a catabolic state, as your glycogen stores are low. The body starts breaking down muscle tissue to refuel. In order to exit this catabolic state, it is important to consume your post workout meal within 30 minutes to one hour of your workout routine. Since our body needs to create energy, post exercise muscle building meals must consist of proteins and carbohydrates. Quick release protein foods include lean cuts of meat, poultry, and seafood. Lentils, nuts and seeds, dried fruits and soy products are other vegetarian options that provide instant source of proteins required to beat muscle fatigue and jump start post workout recovery of muscle tissue.

Post workout bodybuilder’s meals must also focus on getting a quick fix of complex carbohydrates, which will be instantly absorbed by the body for its energy needs. Fruits with a high glycemic index such as banana, watermelon, mango, and pineapple are fast release carbs. Other options include a variety of vegetables, whole grains and whole grain products such as brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, multi grain bread, and oatmeal and oat bran.

Whether you are looking to shed pounds or build a six-pack, remember that hydration, proteins, carbohydrates, and minimum amount of good fats will keep you in good shape and keep you motivated.

Submitted on January 16, 2014