Many of you have probably heard that you should eat something post workout to help maximize your results: think build lean muscle tissue and replenish our energy stores. The BIG questions is: what do you eat and when do you eat it?
Here are MY top ten post workout snacks listed along with why these snacks are perfect for each type of workout!
This depends on what type of exercise you have just completed. For endurance exercise- think biking, swimming, running- a ratio of 4:1 carbohydrate to protein is ideal for restoring energy and helping to maintain muscle mass. I am going to get a little geeky on you to explain why: when we exercise for long periods of time, our body depletes its stores of glycogen in our liver and muscle so that we have the energy to complete our workout, race, or competition. If we do not replete these stores with adequate amounts of carbohydrate we risk our bodies using protein from our muscle (not good) to help keep us going. This is why the 4:1 carb to protein ratio is ideal after a long draining exercise session.
For the strength training sessions, a 2:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is ideal. When lifting weights, our glycogen stores are not going to become depleted. We are creating tiny tears in our muscles and protein is needed to help repair and strengthen those muscles.
There is a two hour window after we finish our exercise that our muscles reap the benefit of what we are putting in our mouths. Ideally, within 30 minutes the most benefit will be gained, slowly declining until after the two hour mark where we have possibly already started some muscle breakdown from not fueling with carbs/protein.
What To Eat after an Endurance Workout: 4:1 carbohydrate: Protein
Medium apple + 2 tbs peanut butter:25g carbohydrates, 7 g protein
Banana Nut Eggy Oats: 50 g carbohydrates, 15g protein
Peanut Butter and Jelly + 2 Slices Whole Wheat Bread: 44g carbohydrates, 12 g protein
Medium Banana + 2 Tbs almond butter: 33g carbohydrate, 9g protein
1 Pita +4 Tbs Hummus + 10 Baby Carrot Sticks : 33g carbohydrate, 8g protein
Glass of Chocolate Milk: 26 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein
What to Eat After a strength training workout: 2:1 Carbohydrate to protein
Whole Wheat English Muffin + Hard Boiled Egg + ¼ cup Avocado: 27 g carbohydrate, 14g protein
2/3 cup Plain Greek Yogurt + ½ Medium Banana + 5 Strawberries: 25 g carbohydrate, 16g protein
½ cup Cottage Cheese + ½ cup Canned Pineapple in 100% Juice: 20g carbohydrate, 13g protein
Vega one Vanilla Chai Protein Powder + 8 oz Fat Free Milk + 1 Banana : 52g carbohydrate, 29 g protein
6 Triscuit Crackers + 1 oz Cheddar Cheese: 20g carbohydrate, 10g protein
What are YOUR favorite post workout snacks for your favorite exercise?