You put a lot of effort into your workouts, always looking to perform better and reach your goals.Chances are you’ve given more thought to your pre-workout meal than your post-workout meal.But consuming the right nutrients after you exercise is just as important as what you eat before. Here is a detailed guide to optimal nutrition after workouts.
Eating After a Workout Is Important
There are various reasons for skipping food right after a workout. Some think doing so will ruin the work they just put in, while others simply don’t think they have the appetite for it, says Heidi Skolnik, owner of Nutrition Conditioning. And that makes sense: Research shows that exercise—especially long or intense bouts of it—lowers the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin, and it can take up to three hours for your appetite to return to normal.
But if you don’t eat ASAP, your appetite may knock you over the head as soon as it returns, says Skolnik. Plus, delaying when you eat slows down your recovery process, which could make it tough to give it your all the next time you hit the gym.
Eating the right nutrients soon after you exercise can help your body get this done faster. It is particularly important to eat carbs and protein after your workout.
Doing this helps your body:
- Decrease muscle protein breakdown.
- Increase muscle protein synthesis (growth).
- Restore glycogen stores.
- Enhance recovery.
Getting in the right nutrients after exercise can help you rebuild your muscle proteins and glycogen stores. It also helps stimulate growth of new muscle.