While you may think that going to the gym is going to get you your dream body, you need to also devote time and commitment to some other aspects of your lifestyle. The most important thing you need to focus on is what you are putting in your body.
It's all well and good saying that you're going to go to the gym, but you aren't going to get any serious effects unless you have a good diet. Below we've listed some of the best post workout meals for you, so take note and ditch the carby late night pasta binge.
It's around this time of the year (post that festive binge) that you stop and think 'right it's time to get fit', and so you probably have joined a gym. While that's all well and good and you may think that you'll see results instantly, the key to getting in shape starts and basically ends in the kitchen. If you want to get more muscle definition, get bigger and tone up, then you not only need to be working out, but you need to be paying strict attention to your diet. What goes into your body is crucial and you can't be chucking leftover pizza down your throat if you want to see abs anytime soon.
Nothing is more important than the post workout period. This is when your body is in recovery from the trauma that you have essentially put it through during your work out. It is now that your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow those muscle proteins. During a workout, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel in order for you to do as best you can. This results in your muscles being partially depleted of glycogen and some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down and damaged. As soon as you have stopped working out your body tries to restore these glycogen levels and rebuild muscle proteins.
In order for this to happen faster and more effectively you need to ensure that you are getting a good post-workout meal in. This will help decrease muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle protein synthesis (growth) and restore glycogen stores. For this to happen you will need to be wise about what you are eating once you have worked out.
Proteins will give your body the amino acids it needs to repair the muscle proteins that have been damaged and broken down - these are essentially the building blocks for building new muscle. It is believed that 20-40 grams of protein post workout is best for body recovery.
Carbohydrates will help to restore your glycogen levels. Resistance training won't use as much glycogen as cardio vascular training, but you will still need to stock up on carbs either way. Within 30 minutes of working out you should try to get some carbohydrates into your body, preferably as part of a balanced meal - insulin secretion, which promotes glycogen synthesis, is better stimulated when carbs and protein are consumed at the same time.
Below we have outlined five meals that we think are excellent post workout refuels and will help you rebuild muscle and get into shape. You won't look back with these healthy post workout meals.
How To Make
A wholegrain wrap is packed full of wholesome carbohydrates, so ditch the white stuff immediately - this won't be doing you any favours and quite frankly, wholegrain tastes nicer. The best thing to stuff your wrap with is a lean protein such as chicken, lean beef, or turkey and then fill the rest with fresh veg (peppers, lettuce, cucumber etc). You could also chuck in some avocado for a dose of healthy fat - don't believe the nonsense you've previously heard about fat tarnishing results. While fat might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal, eating a small amount of healthy fats will not reduce its benefits.
For one of the most simple post workout meals, a wrap takes next to no time to make and can be prepared in a advanced so you can literally grab one as soon as you leave the gym or end your workout. If you workout during your lunch break at work, wraps are also a great idea as they are extremely portable and can be chucked into your bag, so it's a great post workout meal on the go. This is one of the best post workout meals for bodybuilding.
Eat as soon as possible after exercising as this is the prime time when your body is ready to repair muscle and restore glycogen levels. Many experts recommend eating within 45 minutes, so this also gives you time to prepare. This is one of the best workout meals on the go.
A wholegrain rap filled with protein, vegetables and a small amount of healthy fat is one of the best things to eat post workout. The carbs in the wrap will help to restore your glycogen levels, thus promoting recovery, while the protein will provide your body with amino acids for muscle repair.
Eggs On Toast
How To Make
No matter what way you do them (except fried of course) eggs are one of the best things you can eat, at any time. Notably exceptional after a workout due their levels of protein, we like to serve up our eggs with wholemeal bread and half an avocado. Add some lean turkey or ham if you fancy for an extra dose of protein. These are great for a post workout breakfast meal.
Poaching an egg takes a matter of minutes, while boiling an egg takes around 8 minutes (for a hard boiled, whereas we recommend about 5 for a soft boiled) and toasting a piece of bread takes around 2 minutes. Basically eggs on toast takes no time at all, so there's really no excuse to reach for an unhealthy supermarket meal deal sandwich when you can whip up a protein-carbohydrate heavy meal.
Again eat within 45 minutes of working out as this is when your body is in its prime recovery mode.
Eggs are one of the best sources of inexpensive protein. More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white along with vitamin B2. Eggs are packed full of rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper. Wholegrain toast will, like wholegrain wraps, aid the recovery of your glycogen levels and by providing essential carbohydrates. Again, half an avocado will provide you with healthy fats which are essential for the body.
Greek Yogurt and Fruit
How To Make
This is one of the easiest dishes to whip up and while it's not necessarily a meal, the nutritional value behind it is next to none and will keep you full as well as aid muscle repair. Pair greek yogurt with fruit and wholegrain granola (sugar-free), for a healthy balance of protein, vitamins and carbohydrates.
Literally getting yogurt out of a pot takes no time at all so you can do this immediately after your workout (if you work out at home) or if you work out at a gym you can easily take a tupperware dish of yogurt with you. Again eat as soon as possible after your workout to ensure your body is getting the essential goods for recovery and repair.
Greek yogurt contains nearly double the protein of regular protein and its thicker texture will help fill you up. It is also a source of carbohydrates, which helps to restore depleted energy reserves and provide you with a steady stream of energy. Top with whole-grain granola or cereal that is low in sugar for a healthy post-workout snack.
Lean Protein With Brown Rice
How To Make
If you have a little more time then this is the perfect post workout meal. That said you can even prep this in advance so you have it ready and waiting for after your workout. We recommend lean chicken breast (post workout meals with chicken are extremely popular) or strips of turkey, matched with a good hearty amount of vegetables (kale, broccoli and spinach are great choices) and a fast-digesting carbohydrate like sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice or wholemeal pasta.
If you have time to prepare in advance you can get this done on a Sunday evening ready for the week ahead. If not then it really doesn't take long to grill a chicken breast, boil some vegetables and chuck a sweet potato in the microwave.
With regards to when you should eat, the story is the same as aforementioned and you should eat as soon as you finish your workout, if possible.
This is a meal that is perfectly balanced. You're getting a good dose of lean protein for muscle repair as well as a good portion of healthy carbohydrates that will provide your body with the essentials for glycogen restoration. Vegetables like broccoli have almost as much protein in them as meat, so these will help fuel muscle repair.
4 Perfect Post Workout Meals
- Wholemeal wraps - fill with chicken or turkey, avocado and plenty of vegetables like peppers. This is a perfect meal for after any workout as it packs plenty of protein and good carbohydrates for your muscle recovery.
- Eggs on wholemeal toast - add avocado for an extra dose of essential fats. Poached, scrambled or boiled are best and will provide you with plenty of inexpensive protein.
- Yogurt, wholegrain granola and fruit - easy to make in advance. Use greek yogurt, as this packs a higher punch of protein than any other yogurt and its dense texture will leave you feeling fuller for longer.
- Lean meat such as turkey, beef or chicken with good carbohydrates such as sweet potato, brown rice or quinoa is a great post workout meal. You are getting a complex balance of protein and carbohydrates which will aid glycogen restoration and muscle protein repair.
On That Note
You may think that just by working out you are going to suddenly see results, but the fact of the matter is that it simply does not work this way. You need to be watching your diet too and most people agree that 80% of getting leaner, fitter and bigger comes in the kitchen. Above we have outlined four meal ideas that you can stick to and mix up to ensure you are getting the most out of your workouts. Your post workout meals should be protein heavy and have a good dose of carbs for muscle restoration.