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You made it to the gym, you sweat up a storm, and you’re ready to conquer the world…or that Monday morning meeting. Now what? Choosing the right foods to aid in your post-workout recovery can have almost as much impact as the workout itself. Here’s a simple guide on how to eat right to support muscle recovery, proper hydration, and nutrient replenishment.
Most experts agree that your body has a 20- to 30-minute metabolic window after you work out when your muscles absorb nutrients most efficiently. In order to prevent your body from hitting a wall due to a lack of energy, it’s important that you take in plenty of nutrients during this time frame.
When you work out, your body’s glycogen (energy) stores are depleted, muscle tissue undergoes tears and damage, and you draw down on your fluids. The right recovery meal will replenish your glycogen, repair and create muscle tissue, and restore your balance of fluids and electrolytes. Unless you are following a restrictive diet (like a low-carb, high-fat diet), you should prioritize meals that follow a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio within one hour of working out. Introducing healthy carbohydrates into your system will boost your glycogen stores, which contribute to blood sugar levels and brain function. The addition of protein will supply your body with essential amino acids used to build muscle. Here are a few fail-safe staples to keep you refreshed and replenished:
Whole wheat bread or wraps
Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes
For a simple recovery meal that combines carbs, protein, and hydration in one portable package, sip on this smoothie, made with collagen-rich Chicken Herb Bone Broth.
It may be tempting to reward yourself with a juicy burger or bacon-filled mimosa brunch after demanding exercise, but experts generally agree that you should skip high-fat meals, which can slow digestion and absorption of nutrients. You should also dodge any substances that might further deplete your fluids, like caffeine or alcohol. Here’s a simple list of post-workout no-no’s:
What else do you do to recover after a sweat sesh? Let us know in the comments below!