There are few things more important to my daily life than food. One exception? Working out. I’ve gone through running phases, dance phases, organized sports phases and have finally settled into a constant routine of barre and spin classes. Despite my dedication to exercise, my love for food remains strong, and one of the best parts of having a consistent workout routine is learning how to fuel your body.
It’s best to eat immediately after a workout. After a 45–60-minute workout, your body needs a 4-to-1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein in order to repair and rebuild muscle. Some people believe that eating after a workout “cancels out” all the work. But when exercising, the body actually accesses fat stores for energy, not recently consumed calories. This means that the calories your body craves after a workout will be used for energy and repair. Navigate between different workout munchies to help keep your body in tip-top shape.
Of course, before making any drastic changes or starting a new exercise plan, think about what suits you: not everyone will be a runner or a yoga guru. Regardless of what you choose, working out is a little more rewarding when you know there’s a great snack waiting at the finish line.
- Running is a cardiovascular exercise that burns fat from nearly every part of the body and engages all of the muscles. Long runs can take a toll if you don’t fuel up afterward — it can take muscles up to 72 hours to properly heal. Use these ideas to cut that recoup time in half.
- Oatmeal Topped with Fruit: This popular option has a healthy blend of carbs, protein and fiber to help you meet that 4-to-1 ratio goal. The fruit adds natural sweetness and extra fiber.
- Greek Yogurt with Honey: Packed with protein, this breakfast addition is a great way to help build muscle.
- Salmon:This fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. When paired with brown rice and asparagus, it makes for a nutritious dinner option.
- Power Bars:Runners swear by power bars to give them the desired 4-to-1 ratio — my father, a dedicated marathoner, always keeps some in supply.
- Veggies and Hummus:This popular combo is fantastic when it’s a zillion degrees outside — veggies are packed with water to help rehydrate your tired muscles and keep you going.
While it tones large muscle groups, yoga also helps your body dispose of toxins more quickly and aids in weight loss. Yoga focuses on promoting cleansed, balanced inner organs and a comfortable digestive system. In addition to the following foods, it’s important to consume plenty of water after yoga to flush out toxins the practice releases into the system.
- Bananas: This common fruit contains loads of potassium, which is crucial for the generation of cells and tissues. Fiber and electrolytes also make bananas a reliable recovery snack.
- Carrots: Hydrating and packed with vitamin A, carrots are easy on the digestive system and keep you feeling full, but not weighed down.
- Raw Juice: The vitamins, minerals and enzymes in raw juice will be absorbed quickly and efficiently because your muscles are more apt to soak in nutrients after a workout.
- Avocado Whole Grain Sandwich: If you finish exercising just in time for lunch, make this sandwich. Your body will digest it in around three hours, as opposed to a sandwich with chicken, which can take up to eight hours.