Eating a healthy and balanced diet is the perfect companion for exercising. It is important to complement your workouts with a good diet if you want to see good results. There are many opinions on whether you should eat or not before a workout and how much time you should leave between eating and exercising. Here at OneHowTo we explain you how long you should wait to eat after working out, in order to achieve the best results.
Eat a snack as soon as your workout is finished
It is recommended to eat a meal that contains protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session. However, if you're exercising at the gym or any other place outside your house, it's not possible to cook a meal straight away. In these cases, you should eat a snack that could replace the glycogen stores in your body quickly. This will give your body the necessary energy after the workout. Eat this snack 15 minutes after having finished your workout. After 15 minutes your breath and heart rate will be back at normal levels again, so it will be the perfect time to ingest some food.
A good post-workout snack is a peanut butter sandwich. This children's favourite is great for exercising because it contains protein and monounsaturated fats, the ones that prevent heart disease and are less likely to convert into body fat. This peanut butter should be natural or organic, never buy the light or low-fat version. When manufacturers eliminate the fat, they replace it with more sugar, which is detrimental for the body.
Besides peanut butter sandwiches, there are other snacks that you can eat right after having finished your workout, before you prepare a bigger meal. Some of these are:
- Protein shake with banana: another perfect protein and carbohydrate combination. Your body will immediately turn this shake into energy. Do it with whey protein, water and half a banana.
- Peanut butter and banana on rice cakes. This combination is perfect if you're feeling quite hungry after your workout. Use rice cakes instead of bread for extra fiber.
- Hummus and pita. Hummus is made from chickpeas and gives you both carbs and protein. The whole wheat pita will provide you with slow-releasing energy, keeping you fueled.
- Yogurt and fresh berries.
Carbs and protein are a great combination to keep building muscle and have a better response to post-workout recovery, so your snacks after working out should be rich on both.
Eat even if you're not hungry
Sometimes you might feel nauseous or full after working out, but it is important to consume carbohydrates and especially water. After your workout your body needs carbohydrates to raise your blood sugar. If you're feeling nauseous and don't eat anything, it will be even worse. If you don't feel like eating anything solid, have a glass of 100% juice or a sports drink. This will make you feel better and you'll be able to eat something later.
Continue consuming carbs and protein
The snack you've taken after your workout won't be enough to provide you with the energy you need after your exercise. You'll have to prepare a meal rich in carbs and protein that will recover your body completely from the workout and prepare it for next workout. Also, a good meal is crucial if you want to improve and make gains.
Besides helping your muscles, carbs will keep you full and satisfy your big appetite after workouts.
Get to know your body
The most important thing is to know how your body works. Some people are very hungry after finishing their workout and could eat anything, while others feel full and need some time.
Regardless of which type you are, remember that you have to eat and keep hydrated within the two hours after your workout.
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