Looking for the best post workout foods to maximize your efforts? What you eat after your workout can influence how exercise affects your health. Low carb is the way to go! Plus, you’ll want to vary the timing and type of carbs in your post-workout meal with the type of workout. Dr. Mercola explains.
Best Post Workout Foods = Low Carb!
Your post-workout meal can influence the overall health effects exercise has on your body, so what to eat after your workout is an important consideration.
For example, previous research has shown that eating fewer carbohydrates after exercise can enhance your insulin sensitivity, compared to simply reducing calorie intakei. As I’ve explained on countless occasions, optimizing your insulin sensitivity is key for maintaining good health.
Generally speaking, after exercise your body is nitrogen-poor and your muscles have been broken down. Providing your body with the correct nutrients after your workout is therefore crucial to stop the catabolic process in your muscle and shift the recycling process toward repair and growth. If you fail to feed your muscle at the right time after exercise, the catabolic process will go too far and can potentially damage your muscle. Amino acids from high quality animal proteins, along with carbohydrates from vegetables (not grains) are essential for this process.
Good sources of animal protein include:
- Whey protein (minimally processed, and derived from organic, grass-fed, non-hormonally treated cows)
- Humanely raised, free-range chicken
- Organic eggs from pastured hens
- Grass-fed beef
Beneficial sources of carbohydrates include:
- Virtually any vegetable (limiting carrots and beets, which are high in sugar)
- Dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or Swiss chard
- Low fructose fruits like lemon, limes, passion fruit, apricots, plums, cantaloupe, and raspberries. Avoid high fructose fruits like apples, watermelons and pears
It’s important to combine a quality protein with a veggie-type carb in every meal, no matter whether it’s a resistance training day, an interval cardio day, or a non-workout day. However, after strength training (as opposed to cardio training), your body tends to need more rapidly absorbed nutrients and a higher glycemic (fast released, starchy) carbohydrate. Another slight difference between interval cardio and strength training days is the timing of your meal.
- After cardio, you want to wait 45-60 minutes, and then consume a high-quality protein (whole food) and vegetable-type carbohydrate. (An example would be a spinach salad and some chicken, or high quality whey protein like Miracle Whey).
- After a resistance workout (muscle-building day), the ideal time to consume your post-workout meal is 15-30 minutes after finishing your session, in order to help repair your damaged muscles.
Workout or not, you want to combine quality protein with veggies in every meal. If you enjoyed this post on the best post workout foods, please share via the buttons below! Thanks.