HOW TO REPLENISH YOUR BODY POST WORKOUT
When it comes to the old adage ‘diet and exercise’, it’s important not to skimp on the first half. After all, eating properly is one of the key components of health and works hand-in-hand with maintaining our overall sense of wellness. It’s also important for maximizing our workout efforts as well.
Choosing the proper, nutritional foods to eat after your workout helps you recover more quickly, build and tone muscle, as well as get you prepared for your next workout. During exercise, our muscles use up their glycogen energy stores. During strength or overly long cardio workouts, some of the muscle proteins can even get damaged, breaking down in order to strengthen back up. Replenishing these will call on proper post-workout nutrition.
What you eat should also be dictated by what type of workout you did. Higher carb meals have more benefits after endurance activities, such as distance running or cycling. After strength workouts, turn to proteins and light to moderate carbs for maximum efficiency. Either way, it is best to consume these meals or snacks anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours post-workout, as that is when our bodies need the nutrients replenished the most.
DON’T FORGET YOUR WATER!
Perhaps just as important to food, consuming the proper amount of water is something that shouldn’t be skipped out on, either. A hydrated body replenishes muscles faster, as well as aids in digestion. When we work out, we are sweating and pushing out our body’s water supply. To avoid becoming dehydrated, watch your water intake throughout the entire day, not just after you’re done at the gym.
However, consuming too much water too fast can leave you feeling waterlogged and bloated, which can make you feel uncomfortable, especially while working outit. This is why it’s vital to pace your water intake throughout the course of the entire day.
POST-WORKOUT FOODS – WHAT TO CHOOSE?
The moment you step off the treadmill or away from the workbench, your next thought should be about refueling. It is important to choose foods that are easily digestible to help speed up nutrient absorption. When selecting foods, be sure to gravitate towards options that are packed with micronutrients, as they will really assist in the recovery process.
For carbs, you don’t have to turn to dense and heavy foods, like white bread or pasta. Instead, healthy carbs can be found in the following:
- Chia seed pudding
- Fruit (berries, apples, bananas, etc.)
- Rice cakes
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grain bread or cereal
When ‘protein’ is brought up in conversation, normally, people defer to the stereotypical options, such as steak, chicken or turkey. However, those are not the only places it can be found. To change it up, try one of the following instead:
- Chocolate milk
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Salmon or tuna
- Peanut butter
- Protein shake
Believe it or not, fats can be healthy! They do not have to fit into the sugary, overly-refined molds that people have put them in. See the list below:
- Coconut oil
- Flax seeds
- Nut butter (peanut butter, hazelnut spread, etc.)
At Woodside, a Westwood fitness club, they have their own kitchen and restaurant that you can visit during club hours. This kitchen is truly a cut above the rest, featuring an Executive Chef that has gone above and beyond to create seasonal menus that feature locally sourced ingredients, ensuring quality as well as taste.
Proving you don’t have to sacrifice taste for health, one great choice from the Woodside Kitchen menu is their California Wrap. Roasted turkey, cheddar cheese, bacon, guacamole and a whole-wheat wrap provides a great balance of both carbs and proteins while adding in good fats, like those found in avocados.
If you’re on the hunt for a breakfast option, the Woodside Kitchen offers a dish of whole grain oats, flame-roasted Fuji apples, seasonal berries and pecans. This particular meal is great, as it is not only gluten-free but also vegan. The oats are whole-grain carbs, while the fruit and pecans provide healthy proteins.
Another great feature of Woodside Health Club is that it is home to the only Earthbar in the entire Midwest. The west-coast based health company offers up a wide variety of post-workout recovery options, including smoothies and juices and all are made fresh in-house. One of the best parts is that their extensive menu is available to order online, including curbside pick up or delivery, if you need a pick-me-up while on the go.
At the Earthbar, many of the food items listed above are available for purchase. Some popular options from here include the Miami Beach smoothie, packed with pineapples, mangos, bananas and coconut water. Or try their Matcha Green-T Power, which features green tea, bananas and hemp milk.
QUALITY & QUANTITY
Another important thing to keep in mind when enjoying our post-workout meals is that we still need to make sure that we don’t over consume or overindulge. Moving our bodies is tough work, but even too much of a good thing can be a detriment to our health, and work to undo the efforts we just put in at the gym
Depending on the intensity of your workouts and training, you probably don’t have to add a whole fourth meal to your day. Instead, you can opt for lighter snacks before or after your exercise routine. This will help space out your calories and provide you with adequate nutrition all throughout the day. Woodside Health Club also has a wide range of rotating Grab ‘n Go snacks, drinks and meals to help keep you fueled throughout the day.
Overall, food is fuel, and we need to remember to treat it as such. Our bodies can do some amazing things, but if we’re not putting the proper nutrition in, we won’t be able to find the outcomes we were hoping for, whether that be losing weight or trying to add muscle mass. Consuming a balanced diet, as well as getting adequate water intake, play into the broader picture of health. Take care of yourself and replenish accordingly, and you’ll be well on your way to your fitness goals!