Living in a house with 5 other girls is great in a lot of ways – like the part where you have 5 other closets of clothes from which to choose – but it can be hard in others.
Like the part where I eat more than any two of the other girls combined.
Nope, not even exaggerating.
Admittedly, I train more than anyone else in the house and my job keeps me on my feet and scurrying around like a chipmunk for most of the day…so it does make sense. More muscle mass + more activity = need for a lot more food. But that being said, I’m still female and I’m still a product of a culture that, for the most part, dictates that females are supposed to be dainty and enjoy things like cucumber water and fruit platters and half-pieces of toast.
Yeah, no. I like hearty food, and lots of it.
And while it does sometimes make me cringe to realize my lunch is twice the size of a roommate’s dinner, I’m still going to eat as much as my body needs. Not about that starvation life, yall.
Plus, no one wants to see me hangry. It gets ugly. There is a significant positive correlation between how hungry I am and how aggressively I drive. (Not to mention a significant negative correlation between how hungry I am and how much patience I have.)
The hanger is at it’s realest usually a few hours after a tough lifting session. (So anabolic, bro.) At this point I’m also typically buzzing around at work or running errands. As hungry and as busy as I might be at that point, I do my best to make sure that what I do eat is something that supports my body’s recovery processes. After a workout, your body is working to repair and rebuild all the tissues you broke down during training, so it’s crucial to give it the materials it needs.
Post-workout nutrition can get somewhat complicated when you take into account the differences between demands placed on the body by various sports and training methods (and, you know, folks’ opinions), but the gist of it is this:
Immediately after a workout, you want protein and carbs (preferably in a ratio of about 1:2 protein:carbs), and little/no fat.
The goal is to give your body a good serving of protein and raise your insulin so that your body can shuttle all the goodies (meaning carbs and protein, which break down into glucose and amino acids, respectively) off to those hungry muscles.
A few hours after a workout, you want protein and carbs (closer to a 1:1 ratio), and a modest serving of fat.
Dietary fat is not a bad thing at all – it contributes essential fatty acids, improves satiety, and makes food taste pretty damn good. But it takes much longer to digest than carbs or protein, and you want your muscles to have access to the glucose and amino acids in your post-workout meal/snack as soon as possible. Moral of the story: Fat isn’t a bad, you just need to have good timing.
So, what should you actually be eating after a workout? And what can you make that’s both easy to prepare and easy to bring on the road?
I gotcha covered.
Here are some suggestions…I’d love to know what your favorite post-workout meals/snacks are, so chime in down in the comments!
Immediately After Workouts
- jerky + fresh or dried fruit
- 2% or nonfat Greek yogurt + fruit + protein powder (mix it all together into a protein pudding kind of deal)
- hardboiled egg + roasted chickpeas
- protein shake (blend protein powder + frozen banana + other frozen fruit + milk of choice, top with granola if you’re feeling spunky…or try this cookie dough shake, or any of the bazillion shake/smoothies in THIS post)
- a protein cake like this one (sub in protein powder instead of the flour)
- roasted edamame or fresh edamame + bell pepper slices + hummus
A Few Hours After Workouts
- tuna sandwich with avocado – no, I’m not kidding. Tuna sandwiches are freaking delicious.
- protein bowl: brown rice + ground turkey and/or beans and/or lentils (like this vegetarian protein mix) + veggies of choice + hummus/peanut sauce/dressing of choice
- jerky + trail mix (or your own DIY combo of dried fruit + nuts and/or seeds + spicy roasted beans)
- protein shake with nut butter mixed in (top with granola if you’re feeling frisky)
- chicken wrap with a whole grain tortilla + roasted chicken + beans + vegetables + avocado + hummus/chipotle sauce/whatever floats your boat
For more great post-workout snack ideas, check out all the Healthy Snacks ideas over at Nuts.com!
What’s your favorite post-workout snack?
Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored or compensated in any way. All opinions and ideas are my own.