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Many people ask what are the best foods to consume after a workout?

The answer: a well balanced meal including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are essential for proper recovery. Your blood sugar levels (glycogen) decrease during a workout as the muscles use glucose for fuel. The muscles store glycogen. Glycogen comes from carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are the number one energy source to the body and should be consist of 65% of your daily intake. Good carbohydrates to consume after a hard workout are whole grain breads or pasta, brown rice, and dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and romaine lettuce. Many people enjoy consuming their veggies in the form of a cold smoothie. Smoothies are faster to prepare, and also provides a refreshing nutrient based meal. Foods such as these will help increase or replenish your glycogen levels.

Then you want to include proteins, which should consume 15% of your daily intake. Proteins or amino acids may also be used in a shake form, as well as their solid forms. Proteins are important post workout as they help to re-energize and rebuild the muscle fibers you damage while resistance training. Good sources include, fish, eggs, baked or grilled chicken, nuts, beans, and lean cut deli meats to name a few.

Protein powders usually provide between 30-40 grams of protein per serving. Keep in mind to consume .8g/kg of your body weight as protein to prevent damage to your kidneys and other health risks.

Finally, consume 20-30% of your food as fats. Good sources of fats come from omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Good sources of omega 3 fats come from foods such as flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, sardines, shrimp, and tuna. Omega 6 fats come from your dressings and oils such as soybean oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, mayonnaise and other salad dressings.

Incorporating these various foods in a wholesome post workout meal will supply your post workout needs leaving you feeling rejuvenated and energized for your greatest workout endeavors!

Written by: Kris Hynson

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