You’re sashaying out of the gym, glistening in all of your sweaty, post-workout glory. Heck, you’re probably freaking out a few people in the parking lot since you’re exercise endorphins have got you smiling like a college kid who’s next day, 8am class was just canceled (you know how fast that “get ready, were going out tonight!” group text went out).
So what’s the next move post-movement for a fit babe like yourself? It should be snack time! Not only will proper refueling help to combat that very real post-hustle “hanger”, but it’ll also help you shed fat, rebuild muscle, and recover! And while you thought you were done watching the clock after cardio (seriously, why do minutes feel like hours on the treadmill or the spin bike?), it’s important to take in some nutrient dense food soon after a sweat sesh.
In fact, studies have shown that postponing your post-workout meal by just two hours can slow down muscle resynthesis up to 50 percent! That becomes a huge problem if your goal is to lean out since repairing those muscle fibers is crucial to increasing your metabolism and burning fat. Plus, jump-starting your recovery by replenishing those muscles means that you’ll bounce back for your next fitness fun, faster! Let’s break down what you should be munching on after a top-notch training session!
Protein and Carbs Take Charge
You’ll need a high quality source of both of these macronutrient megastars. While you were busting out a badass, booty-burning sweat sesh, your bod was tapping into your muscle’s carbohydrate storage unit: glycogen. Think of your muscles like a bank, holding on to glycogen, that energy currency, until you’re ready to make a withdrawal. When you’ve been hustling hard during a workout, you’ve drained the bank like a reckless pre-teen using their life savings at the mall. Come post-workout, it’s time to pay the piper and restore those glycogen stores with some high quality carbs.
Another reason you need to take in carbohydrates after training? It ensures that the protein, the other star of your after-exercise eating, makes it to your muscles to begin rebuilding and repairing. Chomping down on carbohydrates spikes your bodies insulin, the Uber of hormones, which then helps to shuttle protein and other nutrients into your muscle cells. The result is that every macronutrient makes it home to your muscles, safe and sound, after the workout party.
The post-workout dynamic duo that is protein and carbs is actually the pair that sparked the chocolate milk and training craze, which gained notoriety a few years back. Essentially, chocolate milk has the ideal nutritional profile for a post-workout snack: a ratio of 3 to 1 grams of carbohydrates to protein. However, there are far more fabulous foods to munch on after a grueling session, like a Live Pure smoothie bowl topped off with a bit of greek yogurt (a protein powerhouse!). I mean, do you really want to chase your Soul Cycle class with a YooHoo? I didn’t think so.
Forget the Fat
You might be wondering whether or not fat has a place on your post-workout snack plate. The answer is that it can, but it really isn’t the best addition to the foodie fiesta. Consuming fats in a meal is kind of like hitting every red light on your way home from work-they essentially just add to the commute time, but don’t ultimately stop you from reaching your final destination. As a slow digesting nutrient, fats will inhibit the insulin spike necessary to siphon the amino acids (the building blocks of protein) into your muscle cells, thereby pushing out the time window to refuel and repair. When it comes to nutrient absorption post-exercise, your body is like a freshly squeezed-out sponge, ready to soak up some good nutrition. However, as more time passes, that sponge starts to dry out, becoming less absorbent. Basically, by consuming fats in your post-sweat snack, you’re risking a “crusty sponge” state of muscle synthesis-not ideal. So, if you can’t imagine a mini-meal minus some nut butter or avocado (I know the avo-squad-o is a passionate bunch), that’s alright as long as you limit the portion.
Now that you’ve got a quick rundown on what to eat after you’ve run down a few miles or maybe dabbled with some dumbbells, let’s rap it up with a few post-fitness foodie faves!
- A Live Pure Smoothie bowl boosted up with a clean protein powder or collage.
- Protein bars – make sure to read the ingredients before you munch away, avoid all of the BS. We’re loving the Perfect Bar and GoMacro bars currently!
- Fruit Salad drizzled with a little nut butter and a dash of cinnamon are always a good go to.
- Have you hopped on the Siete grain free tortilla chip train? LP definitely has and we are loving these baddie chips with homemade guac – si por favor!
There you have it, go and make some nutritious moneyyyy-oh wait, we mean munchie, moves post workout, okurrrrr? This is what happens when you cardio with Cardi B on repeat…