A post-workout meal is the most essential, yet most confusing, part of anyone's fitness regime. Your body needs protein to aid muscle growth and carbohydrates to replenish depleted glycogen. To boost your performance with a post-exercise meal, you should avoid fat and focus on foods that give your body the nutrients it needs to heal and grow.
Experts recommend a ratio of 1-to-1 protein to simple carbohydrates. You should aim for between 0.15-0.25 grams of protein and carbs per pound of bodyweight for a post-workout meal. Here we will look at the three best foods to eat right after a workout.
#1. Whey Powder
Whey protein powder is an excellent source of essential amino acids that help your body build muscle and burn fat. You should choose a high-quality 100 percent whey protein powder and stay clear of cheaper protein sources such as soy powder. Whey protein powder has such a high biological value (BV) that almost all of the protein it contains can assimilated by your body.
Whey is kryptonite to fat because it has the highest amount of protein for the fewest number of calories of any food available. Being liquid, it is also the quickest food to be absorbed by your stomach post-workout. This reduces the window of opportunity available to your body to cannibalize muscle tissue for energy. Using whey protein helps you maintain and build your levels of muscle following any workout. Keep protein in a shaker then mix it with skimmed milk just before you want to drink it after your workout. The skimmed milk adds extra protein and gives you adequate amounts of simple carbohydrates without adding fat.
#2. Egg Whites
Eggs were derided for decades as a dietary evil but research has proven that you can consume one egg per day for a year without elevating your cholesterol levels. This proves that the body makes blood cholesterol from dietary fat, and cholesterol levels are not directly related to dietary cholesterol. Although the yolk of an egg contains protein, it also contains all of the fat and cholesterol while the egg whites contain protein and no fat. Instead of buying whole eggs and discarding the yolks, many people turn to frozen, liquid or powdered egg whites.
The protein in eggs has the highest BV of any naturally-occurring food, even beef or eggs. Vitamin B12, necessary for fat breakdown, is found in abundance in eggs. Egg whites are cheaper, more convenient and more transportable than whole eggs while containing just as much of the core nutrients. Most people use powdered egg whites, some people drink raw egg whites (not recommended due to salmonella) while others simply cook egg-white omelets with spinach, mushrooms or other vegetables to enjoy after their training.
#3. An Energy Bar
A great post-workout meal for those in a rush are energy bars as they contain a 4-to-1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. For instance, a chocolate-chip Cliff bar has a perfect ratio of 40 grams of carbohydrates to 10 grams of protein. This mix will trigger a spike in your body's production of insulin. Insulin stimulates protein synthesis making your body's muscle-building system more effective.