If a few days ago we’ve discussed the best pre-workout meals for muscle gain, then this time I’ll tell you seven of the best post-workout meal you can consume as soon as possible after a hard workout. Consuming the proper foods after a workout is just as important as eating before exercising because they nourish your muscles.
In addition, your muscle grows outside the gym and they need to recover better after a hard workout. Therefore, you should know what kind of food your muscles need and when is the best time to eat them.
Is it Important to Eat After Workout?
Getting the proper nutrients becomes very important if you are serious about a bodybuilding program to achieve fitness goals. They promote faster recovery, build muscle, and reduce muscle soreness. That’s why you need the best fuel to help you recover faster and get ready for your next workout. Also, eating enough carbs and protein will help your body to rebuild some of the depleted glycogen and regrow muscle protein better.
Glycogen is a form of glucose storage in your body as a backup energy source and most glycogen is stored in your liver and muscles. When you’re working out, your muscles use their glycogen stores as fuel because glucose levels in your blood begin to decrease. In this condition, enzymes in your body will break down glycogen to supply glucose throughout the body.
Ultimately, this can result in your muscles being partially depleted of glycogen stores because muscles use them as a source of energy. Therefore, eating the right foods soon after a workout can help your body rebuild depleted glycogen stores and repair damaged muscle tissue faster and better.
The Best Post-Workout Meal for Muscle Gain.
Just like pre-workout meals, the best post-workout meals should also contain three main compounds, including carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. Carbohydrates help better recovery and protein helps repair and build muscle. While consuming healthy fats after post-workout may have a good effect on muscle growth. But limit the amount of fat you eat after a workout because it may slow down the absorption of your foods.
1. Roasted Chicken with Steamed Broccoli.
After a hard workout, the last thing you have to do is nourish your body with something delicious and healthy. Chicken breast can be one of the best foods that you can consume after exercising.
When compared to chicken thighs, chicken breast has a higher protein content but low fat. Therefore, this food is very good to build muscle while maintaining immunity because it contains vitamin B6. Besides, you can add some steamed veggies like broccoli to get vitamins and minerals. Lastly, to replenish depleted energy after exercising, you can consume brown rice as a healthy source of carbohydrates.
2. Eggs and Avocado on Toast.
This meal is known as the breakfast menu. But actually, they can be a healthy and delicious snack after exercising because it has good nutritional content. Eggs give you high-quality protein for muscle repair and growth. While whole-grain bread gives you the best carbs to replenish glycogen after a sweat session. Also, don’t forget avocados because they have a lot of vitamins and minerals which are beneficial for your muscles and health.
3. Greek yogurt, Whey Protein, and Honey.
It’s a high-protein low-fat snack to make you recover better. Also, they are an affordable source of protein, rich in vitamins and minerals to support post-workout recovery and boost your immune system. To make it more nutritious, you can add a scoop of whey protein, a teaspoon of honey, and some fresh berries to your yogurt bowl.
4. Cottage cheese and Raspberries.
Just like Greek Yogurt, cottage cheese is a post-workout snack that can help you build muscle. They have a light taste and can be mixed with other healthy foods like raspberries.
When you’re focused on building muscle, you’ll love these cheeses because they’re high in casein protein which is effective for inhibiting muscle damage. Casein is a form of protein that’s absorbed slowly by the body, making it a favorite source of protein to feed your muscles during sleep.
5. Sweet Potato and Apple Sauce.
Another healthy snack that helps you recover faster and better. Sweet potatoes contain healthy carbs to replenish energy after a hard workout instead of being stored as fat. So now you can eat fruit or vegetable-based carbs in a balanced portion because they’re not as bad as you think.
You can make mashed potatoes with apple sauce at home. Simply roast your sweet potatoes in the oven for about an hour, then let them cool. Peel your sweet potato skin, then combine with the apple sauce and a pinch of sea salt in a large bowl. Lastly, mash the potatoes with a hand masher until the desired consistency.
So eating after a workout is a good time to get back carbs into your muscles. Let’s say you’re refueling after a hard workout. So carbs are indeed your friend when it comes to post-workout recovery because at this point your body tends to be sensitive to insulin.
6. Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese.
Smoked salmon is one of the best post-workout foods to reduce inflammation due to muscle damage. You will receive Omega-3 fatty acids and additional proteins from these foods to regenerate damaged body cells after a workout. A whole-grain wrap with a layer of cream cheese and smoked salmon is a great idea to get a delicious and healthy snack.
7. Protein Shake.
This is the last thing you really shouldn’t miss. When it comes to building muscle, adding supplements after workout like drinking protein shakes is a common thing. They can build muscle function and enhance better recovery after a workout. For optimal results, you can drink about 20 to 30 grams of whey protein after 45 minutes of workout. It’s the best time to eat that many experts recommend if you want to benefit from post-workout meals.
But remember, don’t consume whey protein excessively because it can cause side effects. Therefore, use with the appropriate dose because protein drinks also contain sugar. For the healthy recipes, prepare one small ripe banana, unsweetened almond milk, one cup of baby spinach, a scoop of protein powder, and a little ice. Now, put all the ingredients in a blender until chopped. Next, puree until the spinach is completely blended. Refreshing and protein-packed drinks are ready to be served.
As mentioned above, it’s highly recommended to consume a post-workout meal containing carbohydrates and proteins as soon as possible after a workout if you want to gain muscle optimally. The best time is within 45 minutes of exercising. They will accelerate your body’s ability to replenish glycogen, repair and grow damaged muscle proteins.
You have done a hard workout and this makes your body lack energy and feels tired. That’s normal because during the workout you use energy to burn a lot of calories. Therefore, to replenish partially depleted glycogen, increase energy and stabilize blood sugar, you need to eat the best post-workout meal if you want to gain muscle mass optimally.
Getting enough carbohydrate and protein intake soon after a workout becomes crucial because they help you improve recovery better, stimulate muscle protein synthesis, increase energy and performance for the success of your next workout. But some people may not be able to eat within 45 minutes after exercising for some reason. If you’re one of them, don’t delay eating more than 2 hours because it can decrease the performance of glycogen synthesis.
In addition, make sure you drink plenty of water because during a workout you have lost a lot of body fluids through sweat. Therefore it’s very important to replace the lost fluids by drinking water to stay hydrated, helping to recover better and be ready for the next workout.