How to Properly Refuel Your Body After a Workout
Exercise is an integral part of maintaining both physical and mental health, as I'm sure you know by now. It allows us to improve our immunity and our cardiovascular health, it promotes healthy weight loss, and it boosts our self-esteem. However, in order to really maximize the effort that you put into a good workout, it's important to understand what your body needs after the sweat session ends. You use a lot of nutrients during the course of a workout and you'll want to replenish them with a good, healthy meal in order to allow your body to repair and recover. Here are a few tips for a beneficial post-workout meal:
Eat within an hour of your workout
As was mentioned before, your body loses a pretty significant amount of nutrients during a hard workout, so it's important to replenish them shortly after you are finished exercising. Experts recommend that this meal happens within one hour after the end of the workout, otherwise you risk injury going into your next workout (and a depleted amount of energy). A healthy post-workout meal will provide your body with the nutrients that it needs in order to heal and repair itself.
Despite what you may think, protein isn't the best way to refuel
While good, lean protein (think fish, turkey, or chicken) does help to rebuild muscle, a beneficial post-workout meal also includes healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, etc.), starches (sweet potato, quinoa, etc.), and plenty of fresh vegetables. This combination will help to restore the vital nutrients that were depleted from your body during the course of your workout. A great option for a post-workout meal may be an omelet (try using one whole egg and three egg whites) with spinach, avocado, black beans, and a bit of calcium-rich cheese.
Don't overdo it
While you may feel famished after a tough workout, keep in mind that you don't want to consume more calories than you just burnt off. It's tempting to eat everything within sight, but don't overestimate how much you should be eating or you could actually be working against your goals. For instance, an average-sized woman burns roughly 500 calories during a pretty intense hour on the elliptical. And while this may seem like a lot, a large smoothie can clock in at over 600 calories. Therefore, remember to be mindful of what you're eating in order to maximize your results.