A lot of people ask me what they should eat after a workout, so here's an example of what I ate for lunch today after my weights session:
- 1 serving of protein (200g baked salmon)
- 1 serving of vegetables (steamed asparagus)
- 1 serving of carbohydrates (steamed potatoes)
- Condiments (salt & extra virgin olive oil = minerals and good fat)
- Sauerkraut (gut healing)
These macronutrients are foods that provide us with energy - and are essential after exercise:
Protein help us repair and grow the muscles that were utilised during a workout. Repair is important so that we can lift heavier - or run faster - the next time we hit the gym.
Carbs help us replenish our glycogen level, which is the sugar stored in our liver and muscles that provides us with energy. We use up glycogen (converted into glucose by the body) as we exert force, which causes our levels to run low after a training session.
TIP: For people trying to lose weight, I advise eating carbs only after a workout, as the carbs - which are converted to glycogen/sugar once digested - will go straight to the liver and the muscles to replenish our energy stores instead of going to our fat cells.
Veggies are important for every meal, regardless whether it's a post-workout meal or a "normal meal". Among many things, they provide us with antioxidants, which are particularly important after training. When we breath heavily (such as during exercise), we produce more free radicals (oxidative particles) in our body. Veggies help us mop these out of our system!
I want to share with you a cool fact about potatoes and how they can promote gut health. Potatoes (as well as rice) contain a form of starch that changes structure when cooked and cooled. Such starch is called "resistant starch", which means they are resistant to digestion. This is actually a good thing, as the starch travels to our gut where it is then fermented by our gut bacteria. This fermentation produces something called short-chain fatty acids, which support the health and healing of cells in the small and large intestine. This is also the reason why I added sauerkraut: it is fermented cabbage and it provides the gut with beneficial bacteria. So between the starches and the good bacteria, my gut will be as happy as a duck!
I hope this information is useful! Please let me remind you that what we are all different and we react differently to food. What works for me may not work for another person.
Try eating this way and see how your body feels. It may take a few tries to figure out the perfect post-workout combination for you. Use this information as a template, notice how your body feels, then change what doesn't work till you get it right for YOUR body.