6 After Workout Meals You Must Know
for the Proper Muscle Growth
Why is a post-workout meal important? When the body is subjected to intense physical activity such as exercise, it gets the energy from the glycogen stored in the muscle cells. When glycogen levels become depleted in the muscles, the muscles become fatigued.
Muscles also undergo tiny tears during exercise, which is what causes muscle growth. But these tears need to heal faster. With low glycogen levels, the muscles would not be able to recover, heal, and grow as desired.
Eating a balanced meal after exercise helps restore glycogen levels in the muscles, thereby aiding recovery, healing, and muscular growth.
A good meal should contain the right balance of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats.
Proteins contain amino acids, the building block of muscles. The body relies on amino acids for muscle repair and for generating new muscles.
When you eat proteins after a workout, you are providing the muscles with the raw materials they need for repair and growth. Proteins also prevent the loss of lean mass as muscles get sufficient amino acids from their diet.
Carbohydrates are the body’s energy reserves. Carbs are processed and stored as glycogen in the muscles and released upon demand. During exercise, the muscles deplete glycogen reserves as they consume more energy to handle the heavy load during training.
Taking carbs after a workout helps restore glycogen reserves. To aid quick recovery and muscle growth, you should replenish your glycogen reserves as soon as possible after exercise.
Taking some fats in large amounts can slow down digestion. So, you should watch the amount and types of fats you take post-workout because you would want your body to absorb as many nutrients as possible.
Post-Workout Meals that Promote Muscle Growth
1. Whole Eggs
Eggs are a great source of proteins, which makes them one of the best meals for muscle recovery and growth. Some nutritionists recommend taking just the egg white alone for best muscle growth. Studies show that whole eggs stimulate muscle recovery and growth better than white alone.
The whole egg contains proteins alongside other nutrients such as vitamins A, D, and B12 and minerals like iron, folate, and zinc.
While egg white and yolk contain almost equal amounts of protein, the whole egg provides better results. So, don’t discard the egg yolk if you want a source of high-quality protein.
2. Whole-Grain Bread
Processed carbohydrates are not good, and you should avoid them if you want to have lean muscle. Instead, stick to quality carbs like whole-grain bread.
Whole-grains are rich in carbohydrates and are also healthy. They take time to digest and will provide the essential fuel for muscle recovery.
If you are taking eggs as well, you can make a sandwich with whole-grain bread. You can play around with your recipe to ensure that you get a balanced meal after your workout.An egg salad sandwich can provide the proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, and fats in just a single meal.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Carbs are great as they provide a rich source of energy for the muscles after a workout. But that’s not all. Carbs like potatoes also help the immune system. Intense exercise can weaken the immune system, and taking potatoes helps.
You might be worried that carbs could make you gain weight. Don’t be worried. The carbohydrates you take after exercise will provide the energy your muscles need to recover. Hardly any will be stored as fats. So, you do not have to worry about losing your six-pack.
A single peeled potato is enough to provide adequate energy for post-exercise recovery and muscle growth.
4. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel, and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for muscle repair and growth. Omega-3 fatty acids boost muscle protein synthesis, leading to quicker recovery.
The oil from fish also reduces muscle soreness, which helps with recovery. Taking 6g of fish oil daily after your workout can help a great deal.
5. Dairy Protein
Milk is a healthy source of protein. Research shows that as little as 9 grams of milk protein are sufficient to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. The proteins in dairy products such as kefir help with muscle repair as they contain all the essential amino acids.
Dairy products with adequate protein include milk, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, and kefir. These products contain low fat, and just a cup daily is enough.
6. Herbal Tea
Tea is not rich in carbs, protein, or fats, so why does it make a list? Research shows that herbal tea helps with muscle recovery better than pure water.
The study found that men who took herbal tea after exercise recovered faster compared to those who drank water. Tea is rich in phenolic antioxidants, which could benefit muscle recovery.
Since most people drink a lot of water during and after exercise, you may consider supplementing your water intake with herbal tea.
It is vital to have a good meal after a workout to replenish the lost energy. A good meal should be balanced with the right proportions of proteins, carbs, and other nutrients.
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