We focus so much on our workouts and what we're going to do, how much we're going to lift etc., that sometimes we forget about the importance of what we do after the workout. Post nutrition is key for actually seeing the results from the hard work we put in while exercising. If we're not giving our bodies what they need to restore depleted energy and build stronger muscles, how can we expect to see good results? Ya feel me?
When you workout, your muscle glycogen (stored energy) stores are depleted. It's important to eat carbohydrates after a workout, to replace those stores. One thing I have recently learned is that fruit after a workout is not the most ideal source of carbohydrate. Our bodies store glycogen in the muscle and liver. Fruit is made up of mostly fructose, which is metabolized by the liver and is only used for liver glycogen. Although fruit is important and should still be consumed, it is not an effective source of post workout carbohydrates, since it does not restore depleted muscle glycogen.
I aim for good carbohydrates to replace my muscle glycogen, along with protein to help in muscle recovery and aid in muscle growth. Although fats are SO important to eat throughout the rest of the day, they're also not ideal right after a workout. They are digested slowly and, when consumed with your carbs and protein, they slow down the absorption of everything. Meaning, your body doesn't get the quick carbs and protein it needs. I eat a lot of healthy fats throughout the day (especially because they're super important for breastmilk), but I focus on just carbs and protein right after a workout.
My goal for my post workout is to get a 1:1 ratio of carbs and protein. I try to shoot for 20-30g carbs and 20-30g protein about 30 minutes after exercising. Here are some of my post workout go-to's:
- Protein pancakes: I use Kodiak cakes all the time (I get them from Costco) to make protein pancakes. I add a scoop of protein powder in the mix before cooking it to bump up the protein. I serve it with Triple Berry Tart Perfect12 poured over the top (instead of syrup). It tastes amazing, and it adds a little more good carbs and good protein too!
- Protein powder: I hadn't found a protein powder I absolutely loved until a couple of weeks ago. Most of the ones I've tried had a weird gritty taste, or just weren't what I was looking for. I kept seeing Vital Protein pop up on Instagram, and I looked further into them and I am so impressed with their products! They have pasture-raised collagen protein which is not only beneficial for building lean muscle, but it also promotes healthy bones, skin, hair, nails...literally everything.
- Lifeway: I recently discovered Lifeway Kefir and I can't say enough good things about the brand!! They're cultured milk smoothies in all different flavours and they are sooooo, soooo good! They're high in protein, calcium, probiotics (so important for a healthy gut!), and vitamin D. The milk is from grass-fed cows and they actually have a smoothie with whey protein too which is what I've been drinking for my post workout recently. It has a perfect 1:1 ratio of carbs and protein, it's fast and convenient, and it tastes gooooood!
- Overnight oats: Mix 2 scoops protein, 1/2 cup rolled oats, and 1/2 cup almond milk and store overnight in a jar. When you're done with your workout and ready to grub, top with 1/3 cup of Lifeways lowfat peach keifer for an extra protein boost!
- Protein oats: this is one of my favourite post workouts because it tastes so freaking good! I cook 1/2 cup of old fashioned rolled oats in water, then mix in 2 scoops of protein powder. Again I pour 1/3 cup of Lifeway on top to make it extra creamy and delicious.
- Turkey burger & sweet potato: sweet potatoes with cottage cheese are the best! It sounds strange, I get it, but they taste great together! You get the carbs from the sweet potato and broccoli, and protein from the burger and cottage cheese! BOOM.
- Eggs burrito: I buy sprouted tortilla wraps every week because they're so easy and versatile. I cook 1 whole egg and 2-3 egg whites, add in veggies (spinach, peppers, and tomatoes are my go-to) and wrap it up in the tortilla.