For almost a decade, I’ve been a morning exerciser. Throughout that time, I’ve tried nighttime exercises on and off, but I always seem to revert to my early workout routine.
Working exercise at different times of the day has advantages and disadvantages, but the decision ultimately boils down to personal preference and schedule. However, regardless of the time you choose to exercise, there is one thing you must do immediately following your workout: best food eat. It’s possible that choosing the right post-workout meal or snack is just as crucial as the activity itself. When you don’t refuel properly, you risk suffering from a range of negative effects, including slowed recovery and fitness improvements.
As someone who works out virtually every morning. I’ve honed my post-run fueling strategy to maximize both recovery and outcomes using science and research. This is what I eat just after I get out of bed each morning.
The Food Timing
Before I go into detail about what I eat after a workout. I’d want to discuss the time of my meals.
Many studies have shown that there is a critical window of time following a workout. When you may get the most out of your recuperation. It’s approximately 30–60 minutes after I finish exercising, so I usually aim to eat something within that time period. Within the first two hours, you should at the very least get some food into your body.
Surprisingly, a 2002 research published in the “Journal of Applied Physiology” discovered:
“Waiting merely two hours after an exercise to eat a meal reduces your capacity to recharge your muscles by 50%.”
While eating soon after a rigorous workout might be difficult if your hunger is repressed. It’s critical to do so, even if it means consuming liquid calories
The Macronutrient Ratio
The macronutrient ratio is just as crucial as the time of your post-workout meal. My college cross-country coach always advocated a carb-to-protein ratio of three or four to one, and it always worked for me.
Livestrong also suggests eating “30 to 40 grams of carbohydrates and 10 to 15 grams of protein” after a workout.
From a scientific aspect, this ratio makes sense since eating carbohydrates after you exercise:
“Restores the energy stores in your muscles, while a sufficient amount of protein aids in recovery and repair.”
The major point here is that you should refuel with a snack or meal that is high in both carbohydrates and protein shortly after your activity for the best healing and repair.
The Fueling Options
All that’s left is to figure out what to cook once you’ve nailed down the timing and macronutrient content of your post-workout meal or snack. This might be the most challenging portion at times.
When I finish a very strenuous workout, I frequently find that I am not particularly hungry straight afterward. I like to create a protein smoothie with a banana, almond milk, nut butter, and vegan protein powder during these times. This is a fantastic alternative for days when you don’t feel like eating much.
After a short, easy run, I generally opt for a smaller snack, such as a banana or apple with nut butter and chia seeds, to tide me over until my next meal. Avocado toast is another excellent choice.
The options are truly limitless. You’ll have no trouble meeting the 30–40 grams of carbohydrates to 10–15 grams of protein ratio if you combine any protein and carb-rich foods.
It is undeniable that optimizing your post-workout nutrition approach can aid in both recovery and fitness improvements.
If the worst happens, it’s always preferable to get food into your system right after an exercise than to wait several hours to replenish.
Work hard at the gym and recover even harder. And you’ll be well on your way to improving your general health and fitness.