It’s important to understand what kind of food and fluids you need to have post workout to make sure your body recovers properly and that it aligns with your fitness goals.
In this post we discuss what it is, what it does for you, why you need it, when you should have it, and what happens if your body doesn’t get the right nutrients after your workout.
What exactly is post workout nutrition?
Post workout nutrition is the food or drink you consume after your workout session. By consuming the right foods or drinks after your workout you improve your overall recovery, body composition and performance.
There a few factors on what type of post workout nutrition you should consume such as:
- The type of exercise you do
- Your body composition
- Your fitness goals
- Your personal preferences on what you’d like to consume
What it can do for your body
Appropriately refuel and rehydrate your body
Your body requires you to replace fluids that have been lost during exercise. Drinking water is one the best ways to do this as this will help your body cool from the inside out and rehydrate it.
It’s also important to restore your electrolytes which are lost through sweat during intense workouts. Especially on a very hot day, or a long training run, you need to replace nutrients such as calcium, salt and potassium which if not replaced can make you feel fatigued and a little dizzy.
Helps with muscle repair
When you exercise the muscle fibres get damaged, especially during intense workouts like resistance training. While this is absolutely normal, it can result in muscle soreness and fatigue.
If you’re a beginner then you’re likely to feel a bit more exhausted and experience pain in your muscles if you lift weights or do cardio. Eating the right protein after your workout will help with the repairing process for your muscles which can aid muscle soreness and increase recovery time.
Support your immune function and system
Overtraining or exhaustive exercising can lead to a weakened immune system. It increases the levels of stress hormones (norepinephrine and cortisol) which suppresses your immune system.
Consuming adequate carbohydrates after your workout routine can help reduce the disturbance to your immune system. The carbs reduce the stress hormone response to working out, and it supplies glucose to fuel the white cells in your immune system.
Do I need to eat or drink after my workout?
The short answer is yes, 100%.
It might be a little strange working off those kilojoules to be eating right after again right, but your body has to recover by replacing what you just lost through exercise. .
After an intense workout your body has burned off a ton of energy which is in the form of carbohydrates and amino acids (which helps build muscle), so you need to replenish those back into the body.
If you don’t eat or hydrate after your workout you risk your body recovering for days instead of hours. You may even feel quite fatigued and sore afterwards as well. The longer you take to recover the harder it is to keep to your gym routine as you’ll feel too tired and too sore to complete another workout.
What can I eat or drink after a workout?
Put it in simple terms, carbs replace the energy you burned and protein helps repair the tissue and builds those muscles!
Depending on your health goals, your body compositions and what you like to eat will depend on what you have post workout. It’s best to consult a health professional so that you don’t waste all that hard work exercising only to have it undone by consuming the wrong stuff!
In the meantime, here’s a list of healthy options:
- Water: This is a no brainer! Remember to drink regularly throughout your workout. If you wait until you’re thirsty, you’ve waited too long.
- Potassium rich foods: An example would be leafy greens of spinach which help with muscle cramps.
- Grilled chicken and mixed vegetables: The chicken gives you lean protein and carbohydrates and the vegetables are packed with a variety of nutrients.
- Fruit: These are an easy digestible carbohydrate and have enzymes which help break down the nutrients so they can be delivered to your tired muscles.
- Eggs: High in protein and are an easy snack to boil or scramble.
Learn more for your body!
We have a great team of friendly personal trainers that can you give direction on how to start your healthy journey! Learn how to get the most of your workouts and how to take care of your body post workout with us at Crunch Fitness.
Get in touch with one of our team members and we can organise a consultation for you!