What to eat post-workout.
A smoothie right after exercise provides you with the fluids and nutrients you need. (Photo: citalliance / www.123rf.com)
The sooner you start refuelling after exercise, the better off you will be. That’s because refuelling provide muscles with raw materials to replenish whatever is lost during the workout, explains Bibi Chia, principal dietitian at Raffles Diabetes & Endocrine Centre, Raffles Medical Group.
Having a post-workout meal also helps reduce cortisol (stress hormone) level, reduce muscle soreness and fatigue as well as enhance overall recovery.
Here’s what to include in your post-workout meal.
1. In your post-workout meal: Water
Drinking water after you exercise helps you to replace the fluids lost during physical activity to ensure you stay properly hydrated. Otherwise, it can lead to dehydration.
As a guide, drink 600ml of fluid for every 500g lost. Liquids like smoothies or shakes can be especially effective as they provide all the nutrients you need after a workout.
2. In your post-workout meal: Protein
Immediately after exercise, take some proteins like a hard-boiled egg or some chocolate milk. Proteins help speed up the sugar uptake into the body and repair any damaged muscles during the workout. Avoid eating too much protein though, as it can slow rehydration. A guideline is to take four grams of carbohydrates to one gram of protein, says Bibi.
3. In your post-workout meal: Carbohydrates
Also, consume foods that are high in carbohydrates after hydrating yourself, right after your sports session. Your muscles are most receptive to carbohydrate replenishment during the first hour or so after exercise. Then, within the first 15 minutes post-exercise, take another 50g to 100g of carbohydrates.
High glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates, such as potatoes and cereals, are best. These tend to enter into the bloodstream much faster than the foods that are low in GI carbohydrates and protein.
Two hours after exercise, try to consume 300 calories of high-carbohydrate foods. Start with liquids first and then switch to solid items when your stomach allows you. And within the following 24 hours, aim to consume 600g of carbohydrates, advises Bibi.
This article was written by Stella Phua and first appeared in Raffles Healthnews. It has been adapted for www.shape.com.sg.