Better Start Thinking About Your Post-Workout Diet If You Want That Workout To Count

Photo by Brenda Godinez on Unsplash

You finally did it!

You have conquered a workout routine despite the busy mornings of spilled milk and a thousand requests from children before you have a chance to finish a cup of coffee.

But now you are watching and waiting for those results to kick in like the before and after pictures you saw online- and you could be waiting a while if you forgot to include this vital aspect of your workout regimen.

Food is fuel

Exercising is surely the landmark of an effective fitness routine, but nutrition plays a key part in how your body transforms from it.

We know eating a clean, plant-based diet is optimal for our health, reducing the risk of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes to name a few.

However, the time at which you utilize the profound effects of a healthy diet in relation to exercising could be the missing link in your amazing post-workout photos.

After a nice sweat session in the gym it is natural to want to reward yourself with something tasty and delicious- and I don’t mean a big beet burger with a side salad.

Studies show that grabbing a post-workout ice cream sundae to cool down, or worse yet, not eating at all, could thwart your fitness goals tremendously.

What the experts say

In the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN), researchers looked at 85 studies on nutrition and fitness and found that there should be no more than 3-4 hours separating pre and post-workout meals.

Of course, workout intensity will dictate how much and how quickly you should replenish your body.

For longer, harder workouts you want to eat sooner and more carbohydrates add protein, allowing your body to refuel lost energy stores and gives your muscles nutrition to grow.

Be sure to consume adequate nutrient-dense calories over the next 24 hours after taxing your body so that you are ready to hit the next workout with the intensity and energy you had at the beginning of the week.

When it comes to post-workout nutrition, not all foods are created equal.

Eat more for a healthier you

According to Live Naturally Magazine, “The most common recommendation for post-workout fuel is to select a snack or meal with a 3:1 or 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio…”

But different goals require different nutritional needs.

For example if you are weight training and want to build long, lean muscle, then protein is the best option post-workout, according to a 2013 JISSN study.

And we already know weight lifting is just as important to our cardiovascular health as aerobic training, as Mommy Underground has previously reported.

Weightlifting for heart health

So, including it in our fitness goals not only gives us those well-toned arms we crave, but a healthy ticker we can rely on to get us through those stressful teenage years with the kids.

Try a scoop of plant-based protein in almond milk, or baked tofu on spinach to feed those growing muscles.

A cardio session, on the other hand, would require more carbohydrates post-workout to replace all the glycogen stores you lost when you went for that fifth mile on the treadmill.

Here a more appropriate food choice would be oatmeal with chia seeds and soy milk.

While post-workout nutrition is important, it will not benefit you if your diet doesn’t consist primarily of fresh, whole foods with minimal added sugars.

Have some portioned snacks ready to help prevent you from eating the kid’s Uncrustables when you are famished, and plan a post-work meal that adequately meets your body’s needs.

Incorporating a fitness routine as a multi-tasking mom on the go is not impossible, as Mommy Underground has previously reported, and gives you benefits beyond your imagination – like being able to make it through the second half of the day without an afternoon coffee.

Time is precious. So when you use it to exercise you want every lunge to count, and it can with nutrition that fuels and replenishes all your hard work.

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