After a rigorous workout, your body craves something to refuel and revitalize itself. That something might be as simple as eating a bowl of pasta, but it might also be more complex than that. What you eat after working out is just as important as what you eat before.
If you’re looking to add muscle mass or lose fat, the type of post-workout foods you eat are critical for achieving your goals. Here we’ll discuss everything from the best foods for muscle growth to protein shakes for after workouts.
After a grueling workout, your body probably wants nothing more than to relax and recover. To help it do just that, you need to give it the proper nutrients and vitamins it needs to rebuild itself properly. Fortunately,strength-training doesn’t only come with negatives like muscle soreness and fatigue.
In fact, many studies have shown that strength training is one of the most effective ways of improving our muscles’ ability to grow faster after we finish our workout. However, there’s more to it than just putting in the hours in the gym.
The foods you eat also play an important role in how quickly your muscles grow after each session as well as how much muscle mass you retain when you rest afterwards.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about eating after a workout and how much protein, carbohydrates and fats you should be consuming if you want your bodybuilding efforts to pay off sooner rather than later.
What to Eat After Workout To Build Muscle
There are few things in life more satisfying than a well-earned protein shake after a tough workout. While it can be convenient to mix up a shake on the go, you’re really not doing yourself any favours by skipping post-workout meals.
That’s because when you skip meals, you’re hindering your body’s natural ability to repair itself and grow new muscle. In fact, your muscles are almost completely depleted of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) after strength training, so they’re in desperate need of being replenished.
But there’s more to replenishing your body with than just protein powder. One of the most important components of a muscle-recovery drink is carbohydrates. When you strength train, you damage your muscles even if you don’t see any visible changes thanks to the blood flow that’s redirected to your muscles.
Hence, it’s essential for your body to repair the damage and replenish its supplies of amino acids after a workout. In order to do that, you need to refuel it with the necessary amounts of amino acids as well as carbohydrates.
How much protein should you be eating after a workout?
In order to maximize your gains, you’ll need to be consuming 20 to 30 grams of protein after each workout (10 to 20 grams immediately after and the rest the next day).
However, it’s important to note that the protein you consume after a workout should be of high-quality. And while you can just slam a protein shake into your mouth and be done with it, it’s much better to mix it up with some healthy ingredients.
Doing so will help you reap the full benefits of your protein powder without compromising your daily diet. That being said, there are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to protein powder. – Don’t overdo the protein powder.
While it’s important to consume 20 to 30 grams of protein daily, you don’t necessarily have to consume it in one sitting. In fact, it’s better to spread it out throughout the day via healthy, protein-rich meals instead since that’s what your body is accustomed to. That way, you’re not only getting the protein you need but also the vitamins and minerals that your diet should consist of.
Don’t go overboard on the protein powder. While you can always switch things up and mix up your protein powder with other ingredients, it’s important to avoid overdoing it.
That’s because if you consume too much protein, your body will end up storing it as fat instead of using it for muscle building. As a result, you’ll not only be wasting your money but also wasting a precious nutrient that could have been used for building muscle.
When should you eat carbohydrates after a workout?
You’ve probably heard by now that protein is essential for muscle growth but what about carbohydrates? Well, this is another one of the most common myths out there. Contrary to popular belief, eating carbs after a workout is more likely to hinder your muscle-building efforts rather than help you.
This is because carbs post-workout are digested very quickly by your body and immediately used as fuel right away. Instead of being stored as glycogen in your muscles’ reservoirs, it gets converted into energy and ends up getting burned as fuel.
During this process, it has no time to be converted into amino acids, the building blocks of protein, and thus you get no benefit from it. That being said, it is important to note that there are certain times when carbs are beneficial for muscle growth. Here are some circumstances when carbs after a workout are beneficial.
- During a high-intensity workout or when training intensely for a longer duration (30 minutes and above).
- When you’ve pushed yourself to the limit during your workout and are feeling extremely fatigued.
Why is eating fat important for building muscle?
Before we wrap things up, we’d like to address one final, key question: why is fat important for building muscle? While protein is critical for building new muscle, it’s actually the fat present in our bodies that makes us naturally fat-free.
What’s more, studies have shown that when we consume dietary fat, it’s broken down into molecules that are easily accessible by our cells and used for energy.
In contrast, carbs and protein are broken down into molecules that are stored inside our cells and used for energy only when we’re inactive. Thus, it’s important to consume fat post-workout to get a dose of the essential nutrients your muscles need for growth.
How many carbs should you be eating after a workout?
While you can always count on carbs for replenishing your energy, it’s important to keep in mind that they’re not the only thing you should be consuming right after a workout. That’s because eating a high-protein, low-carb meal right after a workout can actually interfere with your muscles’ ability to grow.
To prevent this, you should be eating a balanced diet consisting of both carbs and protein to ensure that you get the best of both worlds. Here is a sample meal plan that you can follow to get the most out of your post-workout eating regimen.
- 1 cup oatmeal with 1/2 cup blueberries and 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 protein shake
- 1 baked sweet potato with 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato and honey
- 1 piece of fruit
- 1 cup of organic vegetable soup
- 1 multivitamin and mineral tablet
- 1 cup of water
Eating post-workout can be an enjoyable way to refuel your body and replenish worn-out muscles. With the right food, you can enhance your gains, boost energy levels and even help prevent overtraining.
Not eating enough protein, carbs and fat after a workout, however, can actually hinder your muscle-building efforts and lead to unnecessary muscle damage. That’s why it’s important to consume the right amounts of protein, carbs and fats after a workout to help your muscles recover and build new muscle.