What Are The 4 Essentials to Eat After Working Out?

what to eat after lifting weights

The craving of food after a heavy weight lifting workout can be pretty intense.

The truth is that your workout does not actually come to an end once you put down your weights. You have to be careful about what you eat after your workouts.

These post-workout meals affect your muscles in both good and bad ways. It can literally make or break all the benefits from your hard work. That being said, it’s pretty important to have a good knowledge of what to eat or not.

This is precisely what we’re going to be talking about today in this article. What to eat after lifting weights?

The Importance Of Post-Workout Meals

After your workout sessions, your body gets tired and your muscles need an input of energy to compensate for the damage that sometimes occur in the muscles.

During your workout, your body gets its energy supply from glycogen. Glycogen basically helps the muscles function and acts as a fuel for them.

Having the perfect meal after weight lifting eases the recovery process and helps the muscle to grow better and faster. You also need your body to be ready for your next workout and you have to get rid of that feeling of weakness or post-workout tension.

Now that we know the importance of a proper meal after a workout, here are some of the 4 essential nutrients you should have in your post-workout meals.

Essential #1 - Proteins

We all know that the most important nutrient for building muscle is protein. But how does It help after lifting weights? Research shows that an average person needs about 20 to 30 grams of protein after a weight lifting workout.

Your protein supplement or protein shake might cover it, but as for foods you’ll need some adjustments in your meal. As mentioned above, while you lift weights, your muscles use up glycogen stores and it needs protein to gain back its strength.

To sum it up, having protein rich meals after workouts are beneficial in making up for the used energy.

Consider adding dairy foods such as yogurt, cheese, and milk to your meal because they are very rich in proteins and help build muscle mass effectively. Eggs are also a vital source of protein. Try going for boiled eggs instead of fried. Eating boiled eggs is the best way to consume eggs because fried eggs carry too much “bad” far. It also depends on what type of oil you’re frying them in. Be sure to eat the entire egg instead of going only for egg whites.

Yolks are proven to have a good amount of protein in them too so don’t discard this option.

eggs

Essential #2 - Fats

Most people think that fats must be completely eradicated in a healthy diet because they slow the digestion process. They actually could not be more wrong.

Fats help building muscle mass too. If you are careful about consuming the right amount of fats at the right time then they can actually help you a lot with your diet.

Fatty acids can be added to your post-workout meal to help you regain your strength just like protein does. You don’t need to have a lot of them so try to calculate the right amount of fatty acids that your body needs.

They make the muscle cells stronger and get rid of muscle soreness after lifting weights. You will find good fat in salmon, nuts and avocados. Full fat milk can be helpful too since some studies show that fat milk does more help in regaining energy after exercise than skimmed milk. Fats are not going to get stored in your body after you consume them in a post-workout meal so you don’t have to worry about putting on weight.

salmon

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Essential #3 - Water

I actually should have led with water since it is the most important thing to have after weight-lifting. Your body needs to be properly hydrated before, during and after working out.

However, remember to not immediately drink water after an intense workout. Drink water after your body calms down and you were able to catch your breath.

As you know, your body sweats a lot during weight lifting and this results in losing water and electrolytes so you need to fill that tank again. The temperature of your body rises during exercises and water helps cooling it and making it stable again.

Essential #4 - Carbohydrates

People that exercise regularly are advised to ingest a large amount of carbohydrates. The main purpose of carbohydrates is to produce energy for your body to function.

Carbs help replenishing the glycogen in your body too. They boost your insulin levels as well which greatly helps the muscle repairing process. Carbs can also assist in storing energy in your body so that your muscles can use it as fuel during workouts.

You should try adding foods that are rich in carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains to your meal. Fruits and vegetables should be eaten daily because they are the best and healthiest sources of energy for your body.

Fruits such as bananas, apples and raspberries will turn out to be very useful for you. As for vegetables, sweet potatoes and corn are recommended. Quinoa is quite rich in carbohydrates as well as protein so try having some of that too.

pasta

What To Eat After Lifting Weights? - Final Words

Never go empty stomach after weightlifting for a long period of time. Try to fix yourself a snack as soon as your weightlifting session ends. Avoid unnecessary sugars and processed food as much as possible.

You need to restore your glycogen levels and choosing sugary foods to do the job might not be the best decision. If you focus on eating healthy meals before and after your workouts then you’ll get the results you’re working for in no time.

Also remember to eat properly in your other meals as well. Instead of heavily eating 3 times a day, try opting for 5-6 light meals in a day. This will stabilize your blood levels and your hunger would no longer be a problem.

Jessica Carter
Jessica is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and holds a Masters degree in physical therapy from the University of British Columbia. She has been working in the field for 5 years and writes as a freelance about all things fitness related.