There’s nothing quite like the endorphins that come after an awesome, butt-kicking workout … whether you’re a runner, biker, swimmer or into something a little more low impact, like yoga, one thing is for certain.
You need to fuel your body after your workout!
But with so many healthy (and not so healthy) options out there, what’s the best post workout snack and meal? We find out in this blog post!
The science behind eating after a workout
So you just crushed a really tough workout–that’s awesome! We are so proud of you! :)
When possible, the next step in your workout routine should be to eat a nourishing snack. Why? Because eating carbs and protein just after a workout helps your body decrease muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle protein growth, restore glycogen stores, and ultimately speed up recovery.
And if you’re looking to knock out several workouts per week in your fitness routine, recovery is key!
Best post workout snacks and meals
So now that we know eating after a workout is important to recovery ... What post workout foods are best?
The key is eating foods with carbs and protein.
Some of the best carbs for post workout include potatoes, pasta, bread, and even sweeter items such as chocolate milk, fruit, and oats!
Proper Good’s Apple, Cinnamon, and Walnut oatmeal is a GREAT option for post workout recovery! With just 5 wholesome ingredients including steel cut oats, chia, flax, hemp seeds, and coconut oil, our al-dente style oatmeal is ready to eat cold or heated up!
And after a grueling workout, we know you don’t want to wait to fuel up again and go about your busy day. ;)
Not in the mood for oatmeal today? No worries! Many doctors recommend consuming dairy protein after a workout, and this could include greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, or kefir. But if dairy isn’t your thing or you have a food sensitivity, other protein options are eggs or fatty fish, like tuna.
Experts also recommend eating within 45 minutes of your workout for maximum recovery!
And for those on the keto diet, you know that recovery is key! However, recovery meals get a little tricky because of the carb intake limitations while on keto. Chicken Bone Broth and Beef Bone Broth provide a keto-friendly, gluten-free, and dairy-free recovery drink option with zero net carbs! Not to mention that bone broths are high in protein and anti-inflammatory ingredients, like turmeric, ginger, and apple cider vinegar.
When sipped regularly, you may even notice a positive change in sustained daily energy! Recovery plus more energy? We call that a win-win.
Should I eat before a workout, too?
That totally depends on your personal preference!
We get that some people prefer to not eat before a workout because it makes them feel too full or nauseous. However, on the flip side, others DO like to eat before a workout because they feel lightheaded or ill if they don’t.
In short, no two bodies are the same, so our preferences on pre workout noshes are not the same, either.
If you’ve never tried eating before a workout, try it to see how you like it! You may be surprised at how much more energy you have by simply chomping on a small snack.
A few great pre workout snacks are bananas, a slice of whole grain bread with a couple of slices of deli meat, or a handful of almonds.
Other healthy habits after a workout
So you’ve got the post workout snack down … great! Here are some other healthy habits to incorporate after your workout to maximize recovery.
Stretch: Many people think that if they stretch before a workout, this gets them off the hook from having to stretch after. While we totally get that you are often in a rush to shower and get out the door, stretching is a vital step in the muscle recovery process! Stretching limits the strain on your muscles and joints, which helps keep your muscles stay flexible and toned.
Here is a printable full body stretch routine to keep on hand if you’re not sure where to start!
Meditate: After a truly heart pumping workout, it might feel counterintuitive to slow down to a standstill and focus on your breath. But meditating can be a great way to ease back into your daily routine coming out of a tough workout and has many health benefits to boot! Meditation reduces stress, controls anxiety, promotes emotional health, enhances self awareness, and more!
Here at Proper Good, yes, we are all about nourishing your body with delicious, healthy foods. But we know that mental health is just as important! Which is where meditating comes in. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go! There are several apps available to help guide you through the process, such as Calm and Headspace.
Journal: Do you ever feel like you have a million thoughts in your head? Overwhelm is especially common in the morning before a work day or at night before bed. Journaling can be a great habit to get into after a workout when cooling down! After your post work out stretch and snack, get out a pen and paper to share your thoughts about … well, anything!
We found a few free journal prompts to help inspire you.
Drink Water: And now for the “obvious” healthy habit that isn’t as obvious as you’d think–drinking water! It’s really important to hydrate after a workout because drinking water after a workout regulates your body temperature and helps make up for fluids lost to sweating during a workout.
So sip up!
It can be so tempting to not have had a snack after your workout. But we hope the tips provided will help make it easy to squeeze in a quick bite or meal post workout!