As the real-life-Dorian Gray and fitness buff Mr Chuando Tan once said, “You are what you eat.” In fact, research has shown that fitness is 70% diet and 30% exercise, which means that what you eat may trump the amount of exercise that you get. To help you keep fit and trim, here are 5 tips that will help you nail your post-workout meals.
1. Have a main meal after your workout
Instead of having a main meal before you exercise, try scheduling it after your workout session. This is because when you’re exercising, your muscles use up glycogen stores, which leads to a depletion of glycogen. After the workout, your body needs to rebuild its glycogen stores through the food that you consume post-workout. The bottom line is: Have your meal after your workout so that you’ll be able to refuel without having a sense of guilt gnawing at you while you’re trying to enjoy your sumptuous meal.
2. Eat more protein
Not only does eating more protein help to build muscle, but it also aids in muscle recovery by triggering protein synthesis. When you consumed high quality protein, hormones are released by the gastrointestinal tract, which send appetite-suppressing signals to your brain. This is why consuming protein from sources such as turkey, salmon, beans or yoghurt helps ensure that you don’t overeat.
3. Consume healthy carbs post-workout
The most ideal time to consume carbs is during the post-workout period, as your cells are more sensitive to insulin, which means that the calories from the carbs will be stored as energy rather than fat in your muscles. However, be sure to eat healthy carbs, which include whole and unprocessed foods such as sweet potatoes, all kinds of vegetables and fruit, instead of loading on lousy carbs like ice cream and cookies.
4. Plan your meals
They say that the most successful people always plan ahead. By deductive reasoning, you too should plan your meals in order to be successful in your fitness endeavours! Needless to say, packing your post-workout meals in advance will help you save time, especially if you’re always running on a busy schedule, such that you don’t have to worry about finding a healthy meal after your session at the gym.
5. Don’t exercise on an empty stomach
Working out on an empty stomach is a definite no-no, as it can result in you feeling even hungrier during the post-workout period. Research has also shown that your body conserves energy while you’re exercising on an empty stomach, which reduces the number of calories that you burn. Instead, try to have a meal packed with protein around an hour before your workout to ensure that your body is adequately fuelled to cope with the demands of training.
By incorporating these tips into your health and fitness regimen, there is no doubt you’ll be able to maximise the benefits received from your post-workout meals. Just as how an army marches on its stomach, your food will be what keeps you going on your fitness journey!