When you exercise vigorously, your body uses its energy stores (fats, carbs and protein) for fuel. Later, these energy stores help your body recover from the stress of the workout. How quickly you recover will be affected by what you eat in the meal following your workout.
A few years ago, nutrient timing and post-workout nutrition were very hot topics. There was an influx of research studies that suggested the time and macronutrient composition of a meal had a dramatic effect on exercise recovery. But after further research, it became clear that many of these studies were less relevant to the average exerciser than originally thought. Unless you’re an elite athlete, “nutrient timing” isn’t as important or complex as it was once thought.
Instead, a simple post-workout meal or snack should provide the nutrition you need to see results and recover from your workout.
Simple guidelines when planning your post-workout meal:
# One to two hours after your workout, eat a meal that includes a serving of protein-rich food, a serving of vegetables, a serving of healthy carbs like whole grains, and some healthy fat like olive oil or nuts.
# Base your serving sizes on your weight and activity level.
# If you don’t feel like eating after exercise, drink a smoothie instead of eating a meal.