The post-workout meal doesn’t just provide a must needed energy boost. It also refuels the muscles and therefore has a major impact on muscle growth. During a workout, muscles expend energy and the glycogen that is stored in the muscles breaks down. Muscle protein begins to diminish several hours after a workout is completed. If food is consumed within an hour of exercise, the muscles are optimized for energy absorption. This increase in protein synthesis can lead to an increase in muscle mass.
The ideal post-workout meal is high in protein and high in simple carbohydrates. There are many foods that fit this description:
Fruits are filled with healthy carbohydrates. Berries, pineapple, and kiwi are particularly good choices, as they have properties that promote the growth and well-being of muscles. Berries are stuffed with soreness fighting micronutrients, and kiwi breaks down amino acids. Pineapple aids in the post-workout recovery process, as it helps to soothe inflammation.
2. Oatmeal or Breakfast Cereal
Oatmeal and breakfast cereals are excellent post-workout snacks because they can be customized to almost any dietary need. When eating breakfast cereal, make sure it is high in both protein and in carbohydrates. Add some Greek yogurt to increase the level of protein. When making oatmeal, add a few scoops of whey protein powder to the recipe. Whey protein sends amino acids straight to the muscles, which helps to promote new muscle growth. Also, add some berries and almonds to maximize carbohydrate and protein intake.
3. Scrambled Eggs
Eggs make a great post-workout meal because they are filled with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Many bodybuilders stick to an egg whites only diet, but the yolks have healthy omega-3 fats that shouldn’t be tossed aside. Add a mixture of vegetables to the eggs, like onions, spinach, and peppers. This will boost the nutrient density of the dish, and make it feel more substantial. For extra protein add a flavor-filled but lean meat, such as turkey bacon.
4. Sandwich Wraps
Sandwich wraps make an excellent on-the-go post-workout snack because they contain so many nutrient-rich ingredients. Start with a whole grain wrap, which contains healthy carbohydrates. Then add turkey or chicken to get a sufficient dose of protein. Finish the wrap with a handful of vegetables, like mushrooms and spinach.
5. Chicken and Sweet Potatoes
People who workout before dinner needs a hearty post-exercise meal. A chicken and sweet potato hash is the perfect mixture of protein and carbohydrates. Combine olive oil, diced chicken, sweet potatoes, apples and cinnamon in a pan. The chicken is an excellent lean protein, and the sweet potatoes have the benefit of digesting slowly. This ensures that energy stays high and that muscles get fed rather than the fat stores.
These foods are ideal post-workout meals for bodybuilders because they combine ingredients that are high in protein and high in carbohydrates. What are your favorite post-workout foods?