Most men who hit the gym are familiar with plateaus. You know, when you just can’t seem to gain any more muscle mass? While your weightlifting routine is partially to blame, a lot of men overlook another important factor: nutrition.
Most men who hit the gym are familiar with plateaus. You know, when you just can’t seem to gain any more muscle mass? While your weightlifting routine is partially to blame, a lot of men overlook another important factor: nutrition. So, how exactly can we give our bodies the carb and protein it needs? Here are the best 10 foods to eat post-workout:
Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein and other important nutrients like niacin, a B vitamin essential to carbohydrate metabolism. And although brown rice is generally a healthier option than white, after a workout, you actually want to switch to foods with a high glycemic index (GI). These foods will replenish your muscles with glucose more rapidly, so try pairing your stir-fry with white rice instead of brown.
Hummus on a whole-grain pita
Most major food guides tell us to substitute meat for alternatives from time to time. Hummus is just one example of a great alternative to meat. Made from chick-peas, hummus is an excellent source of both protein and carbs. Combine with a whole-grain pita for a complete post-workout punch.
Toasted Whole-Wheat Bagel With Almond Butter
Whole-wheat bagels are dense in calories and complex carbs, while almond butter is chock-full of essential minerals like potassium, an electrolyte responsible for maintaining muscle contractions. Combine the two and you have yourself a dynamite duo in spite of the fat content of your almond butter. Although fats should generally be avoided following exercise (since they slow absorption of other nutrients), monounsaturated fats like those found in almond butter are helpful in maintaining testosterone, a hormone essential to protein synthesis.
Dried Fruit And Nuts
Try filling a plastic baggy with this healthy pairing to store in your gym bag for immediate access after your workout. You will get a healthy dose of protein from your nuts, plus you will get a quick injection of simple carbohydrates from your dried fruits. Simple carbs are easy to digest and will replenish your muscle glycogen more quickly than complex carbs, making this simple snack a top post-workout food.
Tuna And Whole-Wheat Crackers
Tuna and whole wheat crackers are another great post-workout snack for men on the move. Tuna is low in fat but packed with protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. On the flip side, crackers are a crunchy source of energizing carbs.
Salmon, Mashed Potatoes And Salad
Like tuna, salmon is another nutritionally powerful fish packed full of protein and omega-3s. Pairing salmon with a side of mashed potatoes, which are high on the GI, will balance your fish with a hearty serving of glucose-giving carbs.
Cereal And Skim Milk
Today’s run-of-the-mill whole-grain cereal with milk may even be as good as a sports drink for recovery after exercise. Whole-grain cereals are now loaded with protein, carbs and other important vitamins and minerals, while milk is an easily digestible and complete source of both casein and whey protein.
Egg White And Spinach Omelette
Of whole foods, eggs are the cream of the crop when it comes to protein content. Egg protein is considered to be the most readily utilizable protein with the highest biological value of all whole foods. This means that the protein in eggs is used most efficiently for growth by the body. As one of the most alkaline foods, spinach is loaded with iron and phytoecdysteroids, a form of plant steroids which have recently been shown to speed human muscle growth.
Liquid meals are easily digested, quickly absorbed and, most of all, convenient. To get the most out of your smoothie, blend together some whey protein, yogurt, skim or soy milk, a few high-GI fruits (like mangos and melons), and some bananas for their plentiful potassium. The result will satisfy even the most demanding muscles.
Topping our who’s who list of post-workout foods is chocolate milk, but not just any old chocolate milk, we’re talking about the pre-formulated, protein-fortified, low-fat and great-tasting. Although making your own recovery drink is preferred by some guys, the convenience of having an all-in-one sports recovery drink handy after your workout simply can’t be beat.