In fact, if your workouts are wearing you down and you have little progress to show for them, the culprit might be your post-workout diet. To get the most out of your workouts, it's essential to eat the right foods at the right times. Specifically, to effectively lose weight, build muscle, and maintain energy, eating before and after your workouts is non-negotiable. Are you ready to start maximizing your workouts? Consider the best post-workout snacks and foods below:
Eggs have long been considered one of the best foods you can eat post-workout. Why? For starters, they're packed with protein. While they're not a high-calorie food-- they have 70 calories each-- they contain amino acids that help to reduce muscle damage. Before you head to the trash can with the yolk, know this: an egg's yolk houses all of the vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and half of the protein. Simply put: eat the yolk, too.
Everyone knows that bananas do a body good, but why are they particularly helpful after a workout? First of all, they're full of carbs-- the good kind-- that help restore damaged muscles. Another super pro is that bananas are high in potassium, which plays a significant role in your body's metabolism, water, and chemical balance.
Salmon is chock-full of-- you guessed it-- protein. But that's not the only factor that makes it an excellent post-workout food choice. The omega-3s found in salmon are anti-inflammatories, so they're good at helping to repair damaged muscles.
Yes, avocado is a high-fat food, but it's full of monounsaturated fat-- otherwise known as "good fat". The best post-workout foods include good fats, which aid in healing muscles and joints. A bonus: avocados contain an array of B vitamins to help you metabolize all of those carbs.
Protein is important for your body post-workout, but it's not sufficient by itself. Why? Your body breaks down its energy reserves-- otherwise known as muscle glycogen-- during a workout. Thus, you need fuel-- ideally in the form of plant-based carbs-- to replenish those lost reserves. To accomplish this goal, look no further than the sweet potato. It might surprise you to learn that this tasty side dish can actually be considered a super food. Besides being loaded with carbs, sweet potatoes contain a whopping three days worth of vitamin A.
Sometimes the best post-workout foods come in the tiniest packages. While a handful of blueberries isn't likely to satiate your hunger following a rigorous workout, it does provide other important benefits in the form of antioxidants. If you give your body an antioxidant boost after an intense workout, you can significantly speed up your recovery rate.
When considering a hearty post-workout meal, kiwi likely doesn't come to mind as a worthwhile addition. Surprisingly, kiwis are full of vitamin C and potassium. Like blueberries, they're also a good source of antioxidants so that they can aid in your recovery. Hold off on tossing out the skin, though: it's loaded with even more nutrients to help you get the most out of your workout.
The bottom line: always eat something before and after you work out. If you think you'll get ahead in your weight loss journey by skipping a meal after a rigorous exercise routine, you better think again! Your body uses a lot of energy when you exercise, and it needs to be replenished with food and vitamins. Without a proper pre and post-workout diet, your muscles will likely have trouble recovering - thereby negating your efforts to achieve a stronger, healthier body.
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