After you exercise, you should take meals 30 minutes later but within two hours. In this timeframe, your muscles are in need of nutrients and your body accepts calories most efficiently. The question is, when and what to eat, and in what quantities?
Although it’s variable for different people, you should generally try to consume 50% of what you burned during exercise. The breakdown of these calories from macronutrients should consist of 25% protein, 60% carbohydrates and 15% fat.
Immediately after workouts is a time when it’s recommended to consume simple carbs. You can drink orange juice, eat raisins or a banana to quickly replace glucose and glycogen in the muscles. To take both carbohydrates and protein together, you can add protein powder to orange juice.
After that, take complex carbs within an hour or two. These will help in repairing any damage in your muscles and will help in muscle building. If you’re doing high intensity workouts, take 50 to 60 grams, while a moderate routine requires intake of 30 to 40 grams. Some healthy options include eating oatmeal, whole grains, brown rice and any fruit or vegetable.
Taking protein after you work out prevents the body from breaking muscle tissue any further, while also starting the process to rebuild and repair muscles to prepare them for your next session. Your lean protein intake should be about 10 to 15 grams. Some good foods are:
• soy/whey protein mix
Eating fat after workouts doesn’t really benefit you in any way. Avoid eating too much fat as it will only hinder your path to weight loss and fitness. Mostly only 10 grams is required by the body, so by keeping healthy sources of carbohydrates and protein in your diet, your fat intake will stay within range. Even if you do decide to take some fat in your meal post-workout, make sure you eat unsaturated fat instead of trans fat or unsaturated fat.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that when you exercise, you’re constantly losing water through sweating and breathing. You need to rehydrate yourself quickly after working out. Apart from rehydrating you, water also helps in the regulation of your body temperature, lubrication of muscles, and helps in digestion when you eat your meal after exercise.
An hour of moderate exercise will result in your losing around one quart water. If you are sweating a lot or exercising in hot weather, increase water intake to one and a half quarts for every hour. You can also calculate the amount of water you lost by weighing yourself before exercise and weighing again afterwards. Drink 20 ounces for every pound you lost.
To get the best results out of your fitness program, it’s good to know what the ideal diet is after workouts and when to take meals.
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