How to: Refuel After Your Workout!

So you’ve sweated it out, your muscles have screamed, and your lungs are on fire – what do you do next?

Hello everybody! I hope you had a wonderful weekend, I know I had lots of fun going up to Boston spending some time with some of my best friends and going to Harpoon Brewery’s Octoberfest (you should definitely go if you can!). Every now and then it’s just nice to ditch the Albany area for awhile and go elsewhere. And Boston is one of my favorite cities, so that’s a double bonus. It’s really neat that I’ve been there so much and I can bypass a lot of the touristy stuff (not that it’s bad of course) to do random things the locals do. Funny thing is, I remember one of the first times I visited the city back when I was 16 and I really just fell in love with the vibe of everything. Normally I wouldn’t consider myself a city dweller, but Boston would be one I would consider.

Anyways, let’s actually get into what this post is all about. By now you’ve seen my past blog posts about why exercise is good for you and what you should eat before you workout. Let’s get to what you should be noshing on after your killer workout session.

In general, refueling after a workout is super important because your body needs to both replace the glucose (it’s main energy source) and rebuild your muscles. When you workout your body uses up your energy stores (the extent is determined by how long you work out and what kind of workout you’re doing). The muscle fibers also tear slightly when you’re working them, but your body rebuilds the tissue stronger each time. It sounds scary, but I promise you shouldn’t be afraid of strength training.

HowCanExerciseHelpWithStressTo refuel you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re eating within an hour after your workout, and this is not the time to skimp on calories or carbohydrates, nor is it the time to have massive amounts of protein. Here are a couple things to keep in mind:

  1. Have a meal after your workout, or at least a generous snack with reasonable amount of calories
  2. Consume a meal or snack that contains all of the macronutrients in the appropriate portions (carbohydrates, protein, fat)
  3. Don’t overdo the protein – massive amounts of protein does not equal massive muscle gain
  4. Make that meal or snack higher in carbohydrates to replenish your glucose stores

Dessert blog post 4So when you’re choosing some post-workout snacks, what are some good ideas?

  1. Nuts and fruit. Easy, portable to take to the gym, and you’ve got a dose of healthy fats, protein, and carbs.
  2. Peanut butter and any kind of fruit. Apple slices with peanut butter is one of my favorite snacks, but things like bananas and grapes will do just as well! For a fun twist, spread peanut butter on the apple slices and top with sliced in half grapes.
  3. Trail mixes. Making your own is best, and it’s easy. Just take a handful of nuts of your choice (almonds, walnuts, and peanuts will do nicely), mix with some dried fruit (cranberries and raisins are fun), throw in a little bit of chocolate chips or granola and you’ve got yourself a nice treat that’s filled with healthy protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Just don’t overdo the portions!
  4. Chocolate milk. Yes, this is a tried and true post-workout recovery fix. It’s got the carbohydrates, the protein, and the fat all wrapped up into one easily portable package.
  5. Greek yogurt with fruit and granola. Yogurt isn’t just for breakfast! It can be made into a healthy post-workout snack too. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for sneaky added sugars.
  6. Cheese and crackers. Not just for parties! I often snack on some cheese and Triscuits after a workout session. Just make sure your crackers are whole wheat so you get the added benefits. And, keep in mind the portion size too.
  7. Nut butter on toast. A personal favorite, and super easy!

IMG_2054I hope those of you looking for post-workout fuel have found this suggestions helpful. I dare you to go try them – they’re all super yummy. Each one also contains all of the macronutrients so we’re not just fixated on downing all the protein to get our #musclegainz (I promise I don’t ever use this hashtag…really).

So, go and kill that workout session today and refuel on one of these snacks and let me know how ya did!

Have a wonderful week 🙂

Image Credit: All images are my own.

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