As the weather continues to warm, many of us begin to focus on getting outside and getting more active. However, we need to make sure that we are properly fueling our bodies for this increase in activity. Balancing proper nutrition and exercise allows our bodies to recover faster and helps us reach and maintain our health and wellness goals.
No matter your exercise activity of choice, refueling afterward is important for helping your body repair tissues, build muscle and improve cardiovascular endurance. Below are some good food and supplement ideas to try after your next workout. However, it is always wise to consult your dietitian or physician before starting a new vitamin or food regimen.
Post-Workout Food: After finishing a workout it is important that the body be replenished with both energy and the building blocks for rebuilding muscle. Therefore, including both carbohydrates and protein in your post-workout meal or snack will give you the best recovery results. Your post-workout food could be a snack or a meal; it just depends on how your exercise plan works with your individual schedule. Below are some good post-workout food ideas to try after your next workout.
- Protein shake (whey, pea, hemp)
- Chocolate milk
- Greek yogurt and fruit
- Turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread with vegetables
- Grilled chicken breast, roasted potatoes and green beans
Post-Workout Supplements: Along with your post-workout food, adding in certain vitamins/supplements may help give your body an extra boost.
- Creatine is a supplement often used by individuals who focus on lifting weights and it can have benefits in strength and muscle building. However, some research is also showing that it may have benefits related to injury prevention, as well as brain, bone and digestive health.
- Electrolytes can be a great addition to your water during or after workout. Electrolytes are minerals that the body needs to function properly and are often lost in sweat during a workout. Adding electrolytes to your water may help improve your hydration status and prevent muscle cramping.
- Calcium is an important mineral for bone health, but also muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Adequate calcium stores may help maintain bone density and keep your muscles working properly for your next workout.
- Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has been shown to help the body better absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus. It has also been shown to help reduce inflammation, which can be helpful post workout.
No matter your exercise activity of choice, what you put into your body can have a major impact on your overall health. Also, remember that what you consume on a daily basis is more important than what you consume in one individual moment, even if that is right after finishing a workout. Looking at your nutrition in the long term can help you reach your health and wellness goals. Thinking of your nutrition and exercise in this way can also keep you on tract even if you hit a hiccup on one particular day. For more individualized guidance on how you should be fueling your body post workout and beyond, you can always reach out to your local Hy-Vee dietitian.
*The blog articles, recipes and recommendations found on this site are not intended as medical advice and should not replace consulting with your medical provider. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
About the Registered Dietitian
Alea Lester Fite, MS, RD, LD, received her bachelor’s degrees from the University of Minnesota in Spanish and biology and her master’s degree with coordinating internship program at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Nutrition and Dietetics. Alea has always had a passion for health and fitness, participating in competitive sports for most of her life. She found that she loved inspiring and helping people make healthy changes. Alea started seeing a registered dietitian when she was having her own digestive health issues and realized that she enjoyed learning about and working with food.