You know the saying "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day"? Well, not for me! My second breakfast is the most important meal of my day! Why? Because it is the meal I eat immediately after I workout.
And I would suggest you consider the meal you eat directly following your workout your most important meal of the day.
Why is it important to eat following my workout?
Because if you eat the right foods after your workout, you can improve your body composition, enhance your performance, and recover faster. You have to EAT. You just used up energy. It's time to replace it! Your muscles need to repair so they can become stronger. Muscles cannot do this without nutrients.
What should I eat?
No matter what sort of activity you're doing, your body's main source of energy is carbs. So your post workout meal should consist of a good amount of carbohydrates. You should also eat protein, which will aid in protein synthesis and help your muscles grow.
When should I eat?
As soon as possible! From Precision Nutrition's website... "Research suggests that while protein synthesis persists for at least 48 hours after exercise, it's most important to get post workout nutrition immediately, and within 2 hours afterwards. If your feed your body properly while this window is open, you'll get the benefits. If you don't provide adequate post exercise nutrition fast enough- even if you delay by only a couple of hours- you decrease muscle glycogen storage and protein synthesis."
Would you believe that just 18 months ago, I would wake up at 6:00am, run 7 miles on an empty stomach, and then not eat anything until around 10:30am??? (That's when I would eat an apple. A WHOLE FREAKING APPLE.) I can't believe I did that. I was SO STUPID. My body could not perform to it's full potential because I was not FUELING it. I gave it NO NUTRIENTS to help it recover. I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around why I did that... Actually, I know why. I wanted to be skinny. (Spoiler Alert!!! I wasn't skinny! I was hungry and irritable. )You can read more about how I changed my behaviors here.)
Are you wondering what I eat post workout nowadays??
Well, if I weight train I eat:
Some generic form of Cheerios
and chicken breast!
If I run or do a HIIT circuit...
...this yummy cereal! But a bowl about twice as big.
Oh, how times have changed. If I was only allowed to eat an apple now, I would pass out for sure.