These are the best post-workout foods that you can eat to maximize muscle growth and recovery. Whether you’re trying to burn fat and lose weight or build muscle what to eat after a workout will either help or hurt your pprogress.
The recovery and repair process after a workout is just as important as the workout itself. During your workout, you’ll create tiny tears in the muscles, and ultimately the goal is to have your muscles come back stronger and bigger as they heal. However, the only way that you’ll reap the benefits from your workout and build muscle is by providing your body the resources it needs to recover.
So I want to give you guys 10 of the best foods that you should have after a workout. And the first category that I’m going to list some options for is ofcourse protein. It’s essential to consume protein around your workouts because the amino acids found in protein are the building blocks to your muscles. In fact, building muscle is all about creating a “positive protein turnover rate.” This means that your body has to add more amino acids to a muscle than the amount that gets broken down regularly.
Now, most of you have probably heard of the anabolic window, which is a myth, that suggests that you need to get your protein shake in as fast as possible after a workout. Even though it’s not true that you need to take in protein IMMEDIATELY after a workout.
So the first and one of the best protein sources post-workout is whey protein. Whey is a fast-digesting protein source, which is especially beneficial if you train on an empty stomach. That’s because it’ll digest quickly and cause a rapid spike in amino acids that will quickly become available for your body to use for muscle repair and recovery. So as a result, whey protein will stimulate protein synthesis which is the build-up of new muscle fibers, and it’ll do it faster than slower-digesting protein sources like casein.
The best part about whey protein is that it’s one of the world’s best sources of leucine, which happens to be the most important amino acid for muscle growth. This is because leucine activates mTOR, which is the primary muscle-building pathway in the body. That’s why simply having a whey protein shake can be an excellent post-workout protein source, especially if you’re short on time.
Now even though casein isn’t the best protein source if you train fasted, it still has a similar nutrition profile to whey, however, casein does have other qualities that may make it an even better choice if you don’t train on an empty stomach. This is because whey is actually not as effective as casein at preventing muscle protein breakdown.
And remember to build muscle we want to do both reduce muscle protein breakdown and increase muscle protein synthesis. Casein may also be more beneficial for fat loss, due to the fact that it digests slower. This helps you feel full for longer.
Now since casein and whey are both good choices post-workout it should come as no surprise that milk is also a great option. This is because both casein and whey are derived from cows’ milk. And based on the available research, milk does seem to be an equally excellent option.
For example, in a study published few years ago, researchers found that drinking whole milk stimulated muscle protein synthesis to a similar degree as whey protein. Interestingly enough, research shows that whole milk stimulates muscle protein synthesis better than skim milk, even when whole milk contains less protein than skim milk.
So, if you want to boost muscle growth and recovery consider drinking whole milk instead of skimmed milk after your training session.
Another high quality post-workout protein source can be found in eggs just like whey protein, they score very high in leucine which is like the most important amino acid for muscle growth and on average one egg has 6 grams of protein that means that you’ll only need about three to four eggs to meet the minimum of 20 grams of protein post workout.
Eggs are also an easy to consume protein source you could simply boil a couple eggs and eat them right after you finish training. For most people this is much more convenient than walking around with a tupperware box with chicken breast or another source of protein.
Salmon is an excellent protein source containing about 20 grams of high quality protein per 100 gram serving. It is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and these fatty acids will definitely help after workout in a number of ways this includes lowering cortisol testosterone reducing muscle protein breakdown boosting muscle protein synthesis and increasing nutrient partitioning which essentially helps the nutrients get to where they need to go.
Other than protein we also want carbs consuming. Carbs post-workout can have anti-catabolic effects which means they help reduce muscle protein breakdown. Carbohydrates are able to do this thanks to the response that your body has to carbs which is to increase insulin production most of you don’t know that insulin actually suppresses muscle protein breakdown.
Tart Cherry Juice
One of the best carbs that you can have post-workout is tart cherry juice of all the carb-rich food sources that are available it might just be the absolute best because it speeds up recovery.
Tart cherries reduce muscle soreness reduce strength losses during the recovery process and they also reduce markers of muscle breakdown.
Another great carb rich alternative to tart cherry juice is watermelon juice and it has its own range of benefits. Watermelon juice helps reduce muscle soreness and heart rate recovery after 24 hours so reducing heart rate recovery may sound like a bad thing at first but it’s actually a really good thing heart rate recovery refers to how long it takes to bring your heart rate back down to normal after stopping exercise so the faster your breathing and heart rate return back to normal the more fit you’re considered to be part of what allows watermelon juice to have this effect is an amino acid found in watermelon known as l-citrulline.
l-citrulline stimulates blood flow and that blood flow helps your body deliver amino acids to your muscles while simultaneously also helping your body clear waste products from your muscles like lactic acid.
Oats are one of the best of these options they contain about 66 grams of carbs per 100 grams of oats which is a little more than a cup this makes it a much more carb dense food source than tart cherry and watermelon juice on top of that oats also contains a decent amount of protein 100 gram serving of raw oats will provide you with almost 17 grams of protein that’s a lot of protein for a carb source but keep in mind that oats are not a great substitute for a high quality protein source like the ones that i’ve already gone over oats won’t provide all the amino acids that you need but if you’re vegan you can definitely combine oats with other sources to get your full spectrum of aminos.
Its an excellent source of electrolytes, it’s beneficial to have electrolytes after workout because they get lost through your sweat and through your muscle contractions for those of you don’t know electrolytes are chemicals that have an electric charge in your body.
Examples are sodium magnesium potassium and chloride so those electrolytes are very necessary for a wide range of bodily functions these include muscle recovery and ensuring that your muscles can contract properly this is why being deficient in one or more electrolytes can cause muscle cramping so to prevent that from happening it’s important to take in enough electrolytes especially after workouts.
Replenishing the fluids that you lost through your sweat is not only essential for your health, but also for your results that’s because dehydration reduces hypertrophy or muscle growth by lowering muscle protein synthesis while raising protein breakdown rates to make matters worse.