Proteins repairs the tiny tears in the muscles, caused by the strength training or rigorous work out and helps them grow bigger and faster. It is not just how much protein one is eating, but the kind of protein one is consuming is equally important. Protein should be taken throughout the day by those who involve in strenuous activities.
Eating after exercise is as crucial as the workout itself. While working out, your muscles start to use the available protein to rebuild within a few hours. To build muscle, one needs 30 grams of protein and 35 grams of carbohydrates within 15 minutes of workout. Taking proper nutrition after workout will decrease the muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle protein synthesis, restore glycogen stores and enhance recovery.
There are simple natural products that can provide the much needed protein after workout. These are:
Yogurt mixed with cereal or fruit is a great food to be eaten after exercise. Yogurt is a perfect balance of protein and carbs. If you add some berries in it, it will help fight muscle soreness too as berries are rich in antioxidants. Greek Yogurt provides 20 grams of protein, which is double the amount of protein compared to regular yogurt and the exact amount one needs to repair the muscles. Greek Yogurt is a combination of casein and whey protein.
It is recommended to stick to plain Greek yogurt and add some honey and cinnamon to it for taste.
Eggs are packed with proteins and nutrients in whichever form they are consumed. One egg contains 6 grams of proteins along with amino acids to the body needs to digest and absorb proteins. Eggs can be paired with a piece of fresh fruit to provide carbs. Eggs contain 12 vitamins and minerals too that are good for the body.
1 to 2 hardboiled eggs with a slice of whole wheat toast is an excellent snack to be consumed right after workout.
One can prepare a veggie omelet with avocado and half cup of roasted potatoes as a complete meal after workout.
3. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and also healthy fats needed for the body. It can be put on a fruit, bread and rice cake or just eaten with a spoon.
Two crackers with a spoon of peanut butter is a good snack after workout. One may take a slice of whole wheat toast with a spoon of peanut butter and half sliced banana as a snack to help build muscles and replenish the carbohydrates.
4. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is made from the curds of pasteurized cow’s milk and has 28 grams of casein protein per serving. It can be paired with a fruit or topped on a salad as healthy snack. Cottage cheese is one of the best nutritious way to recover from a workout. It is the most naturally rich source of muscle building amino acid called leucine. Casein is very slow to digest thus keeps one feeling fuller for a long time.
5. Low fat Chocolate Milk
Low fat chocolate milk helps to replace glycogen and provide essential amino acids that the muscles need to recover. Chocolate milk provides both whey and casein proteins that are needed after workout. One cup of chocolate milk is a good snack after workout.
Protein shakes are easily available. One can opt for protein or vegetarian powder and add fruits, peanut butter and milk to it.
Pistachios are green nuts loaded with anti-oxidants, potassium and sodium. Potassium and sodium are the two electrolytes lost in the sweat while working out. Pistachios leads to speedy recovery after exercise.
It is recommended to munch on a trail mix after workout. Trail mix is a combination of a variety of nuts like almonds, raisins and dry ingredients like dried fruits.
Fruits like pineapples are great for muscle recovery as they are known to have anti inflammatory properties. Kiwi is another great fruit to be consumed after workout as it aids with digestion and helps break down amino acids. Fruits provide anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals that are needed for speedy recovery after exercise. One must include bananas and berries in their diet on regular basis.
Kefir is a great source of proteins, vitamins and minerals which are needed after workout. Kefir is a fermented milk product made in almost the same way as yogurt where milk combines with bacteria and allowed to ferment. Kefir is also a good source of calcium and Vitamin D.
9. Green Peas and Beans
Green peas and beans like black beans, pinto beans, navy beans etc. are a great source of proteins. They can be eaten as is or in dishes.
Beans can be added to rice, tacos, salads or taken boiled if needed. They contain 15 grams of proteins and high fiber content.
Lentils also has 17 grams of protein per cup. They can be eaten cold or cooked as a post gym meal. One may opt for hummus as a dip for veggies, pita chips and pretzels.
Tofu is known to have 20 grams of protein per cup. It is a soy based protein which is excellent for vegetarians to compensate for their protein needs.
Other good sources of proteins include hemp seeds and Quinoa. These can be added to the oat-meals or smoothies and taken as a quick snack after workout.
Chicken, Salmon, Tunas and Shrimps are other high protein choices that can be consumed after workout.
Complex carbohydrates are needed post workout. Some of the best sources of carbohydrates are quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, pasta, potatoes, dark green leafy vegetables and whole wheat bread.
We all have different digestive systems and a lot depends on what kind of workout we are doing. Drinking water after workout is also very important. One can also take some fresh orange juice which provides fluids as well as carbohydrates that are needed.