If you are like a lot of athletes, you get the munchies after a workout.
This is because, if you haven’t eaten before your workout, your body pulls sugar from your blood for energy, which makes you hungry post-workout because your blood sugar is low. And when your blood sugar is low, you get hungry.
It’s enticing to want to raid the fridge after a workout because, after all, you burned a bunch of calories. Anything you eat after a workout will just replace the calories you lost, right?
What you eat after a workout should help you recover, not replace, empty calories. Your body wants to repair the damage done to the protein in your muscles when you workout, so anything you put in your body should help do that. In order to help your body recover, you want to focus on “macronutrients.”
Macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) are required by the body to help keep you feeling good, so you want to put as much of these into your body as you possibly can, especially after you exercise.
Eggs, nuts (like almonds) and chicken breasts are loaded with protein and should factor into your post-WOD diet. And, while whole eggs are high in protein, egg whites are practically all protein, so it’s not a bad idea to stick to egg whites if you are thinking about including eggs.
As for chicken breast, one roasted chicken breast without skin contains 53 grams of protein and only 284 calories, making it an obvious choice to for a post-workout snack. This versatile piece of meat can also be paired with a high-protein vegetable like broccoli, making it a quick and easy option.
(This list has 20 high-protein options for your consideration. We’re sure you’ll find something you like.)
Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad for you, so consider a few options to go along with your protein intake. Whole milk is more effective at promoting muscle growth after a workout than its skinnier cousin, skim milk, for instance. When planning what to put in your body after working out, you do want to work on regaining muscle, so a glass of whole milk can do the trick.
When you work out hard (yes, Fran counts as a hard workout), the glycogen your body has stored up gets depleted, so you have to fill up the reserves. This is where carbs come in. Consuming carbs after a workout will help get glycogen storage back to a healthy level. While you probably want to limit foods that are high in carbs as part of a regular diet, they are fair game after you have spent energy at the gym. Foods like white rice, potatoes (regular & sweet), and bananas are all good options to put in your belly to recover as quickly as possible.
We know you’re not thinking about your next meal while lying on the floor in a puddle of sweat, so we wanted to give you some ideas to have in the back of your mind when you get around to thinking about what to eat to fuel your body for the next WOD.
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