Author: James O’Sullivan • Fact checked by: Gainful Registered Dietitians • Aug. 3, 2022
Good fitness habits don’t stop once we’re done with our workout.
It’s how you carry on better fitness practices when you’re not exercising that helps propel you towards your goals.
Your post workout diet is an essential part of your overall fitness experience. How you choose your post workout meal defines whether or not you’re making good on all the effort you’ve just put in.
Choosing the right meal after your workout isn’t as easy as you’d think. You should consider plenty of factors before you sit down to eat. Once muscle soreness kicks in after an intense workout, making the right food decisions can be even harder.
In order to ensure that you’re setting yourself up for the ideal circumstances for fitness success, here are our helpful tips to help you choose better post workout meals.
If there’s one way you should start making more informed decisions about the meals you're eating, it’s by counting the calories in the meals you eat after your workout.
The caloric content of a meal provides you with some of the most important information you can glean about its nutritional content. No matter your fitness goals — whether it’s building muscle, losing weight, or improving your overall wellness — the calorie count of your post-workout nutrition will provide you with key information you need to better capitalize on those goals.
In general, the daily recommended caloric intake for women and men is 2,000 and 2,500, respectively.
That can change depending on your fitness goals.
If your goals are to build more muscle, you want to ensure you’re getting ample calories to keep your metabolic rate up. If you don’t, your body can react to the caloric scarcity and may fail to build the same kind of muscle mass you might if you maintained a higher caloric intake.
If weight loss is your goal, minimizing your caloric intake may help propel you towards your objective faster. Of course, you should speak with your healthcare provider before making dietary changes, especially if you have any preexisting conditions.
Supplying yourself with a nutritional post workout meal doesn’t amount to much if you don’t eat it in the first place.
Some of us are ravenous after exercising; others don’t have much of an appetite at all. In either case, what’s going to help you stay focused on eating the right kind of meal that promotes your fitness goals is a meal that you want to eat.
Choosing foods that appeal to your fitness goals and taste buds is one way to help guarantee you’re optimizing your exercise regimen.
Delicious tasting meals and diet-friendly meals aren’t mutually exclusive. Just look at the wide range of flavor options you can choose from in our Personalized Protein Blend.
Prepare post workout meals that you’re looking forward to eating if you want to help stick to your post workout meal plan.
Meal prepping is one of the most effective ways to bring the same discipline you bring to your exercise routine into the kitchen.
After all, our habits in the kitchen are just as important as our habits at the gym.
If you’re unfamiliar with meal prep, it’s when you take the time to prepare or cook a meal before you sit down to eat it, usually in larger yields. Instead of cooking for yourself after an exhausting workout, you can count on a delicious, nutritious, ready-to-eat balanced meal waiting for you already.
Meal prepping has been shown to help promote healthier dietary choices and maintain body weights. Taking the time to plan your meals and cook them beforehand can offer potential benefits to a fitness-promoting diet.
Know for sure that you’re eating what you need. By having the foresight to plan out your post exercise meals, you may have the mental bandwidth to be more selective with the quality of the food you eat and the nutritional quality of your meal as compared to what your body needs.
You might be less likely to eat foods that will hinder your progress. You’re in complete control of your meals and your post workout snack. When your post workout meal is already ready to go, you may be less likely to eat foods that might disrupt your fitness goals, and you might be more likely to grab the veggies, nut butter, or protein shake after your exercise session.
Next to your caloric intake, your protein intake could be one of the most important nutritional metrics you should consider when putting together your post workout meal.
Protein is a seminal macronutrient that can affect a wide array of bodily functions. For our fitness purposes, protein has sometimes been shown to be highly influential in affecting fitness goals — both in weight loss and muscle gain.
Higher protein intake has been shown to increase feelings of satiety, making us less likely to sneak back to the pantry after we’ve finished eating. The more protein in your post workout meal, the less likely you may be to continue eating more than you need, thanks to its filling effects.
Protein is less likely to be stored as body fat compared to other nutrients and macronutrients like fats and carbohydrates. Carbs are stored as body fat at 80% efficiency; fats at 96% efficiency.
Protein, meanwhile, is stored as body fat with about 66% efficiency. The more lean protein in your post workout meal, the less opportunity you’re potentially giving your body to store additional body fat.
Lastly, protein can promote the growth of lean body mass. Muscle is leaner than fat. What’s more, muscle burns fat at a higher rate, so the more muscle you have, the better equipped you may be to burn fat.
The more protein you consume, the better equipped your body may be to build muscle.
A higher protein diet doesn’t just help you build more muscle. Higher protein intakes have been shown to help us with our workout recovery.
In short, your muscles love a good source of protein. Including more grams of protein in your post workout diet is a tremendous way to help give your muscles the fuel they need when part of a balanced diet.
Including more protein in your post workout meal is easy. You don’t even need to go through the process of prepping protein-heavy meals.
Your Personalized Protein Blend from Gainful is a hyper-enriched protein supplement that helps supply you with organic protein sources like pea protein and brown rice protein powder. Add in branched-chain essential amino acids for potential muscle growth and repair, as well as complete proteins from whey concentrate, and you’ve got yourself a snack packed with fuel.
Add your powder to meals like overnight oats, post workout smoothies, or just mix it with plenty of water or even chocolate milk. It’s a simple way to help you meet your protein intake to reach your fitness goals. In the meantime, skip the sugary sports drinks and stick to whole foods, whole-grain products, healthy fats, and good-for-you snacks.
Including enriched, personalized supplement blends into your meal plan, like the ones you get from Gainful, gives you full confidence that you’re getting everything you need to maximize your post workout routine.
Ensure you’re rehydrating properly and replenishing your body with our Personalized Hydration Blend for simple refueling. Set yourself up for a swifter recovery with Gainful Personalized Pre-Workout that’s crafted to help aid in muscle tissue repair (or muscle protein synthesis).
Supplements can help provide a simple, effective way to meet your nutritional needs after you exercise.
Take our quiz to see what blend best suits your fitness goals.
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