Eating quality food post-workout is crucial…you know, if you expect to burn fat and/or lose weight.
The science of post-workout nutrition is pretty complex and many “experts” can’t seem to agree on a few things, but I’m going to boil it down to the most important nutritional must-haves.
Key point: in order to optimize fat loss results, you need to replace your amino acids (protein) and glycogen loss (carbs).
The science on recovery is a little War-and-Peace-y in its complexity but you can boil it down to a few nutritional musts: in order to optimize your results, you need to replace the amino acids and glycogen lost during your workout.
Starting the lean muscle building process by promoting protein synthesis requires just the right amount of protein and carbohydrates.
Most women get this wrong.
Probably because of all of the conflicting information.
Either you don’t eat anything, rely on some type of “shake or meal replacement” or get real boring and eat chicken and broccoli.
Your body prefers a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods.
Not only that, healthy post-workout eating doesn’t have to be boring and bland.
Try these seven post-workout lean muscle-building, fat-burning meals that taste great and get results.
1.) Protein Smoothie
Here’s What To Do: I call this recipe the The Flat Berry Smoothie: In a blender add 1 cup coconut water, ½ cup raspberries, ½ cup strawberries, ¼ cup blueberries, 1 Tbsp. melted coconut oil, and 2 scoops grass-fed whey protein powder or hemp/rice based vegan protein powder. Blend until smooth.
Why You Should Do It: Most smoothies lack protein, which is bad news for your blood sugar and insulin levels. This smoothie balances your fat, protein, and carbs giving you a nutritional boost that will keep you satisfied. Remember, don’t suppress your appetite, satisfy it.
2.) Protein Pancakes
Here’s What To Do: Mix 2 eggs, ¼ cup rolled oats, ¼ cup yogurt, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Cook on a preheated griddle on medium to low heat, until it bubbles then flip and cool another 30-60 seconds. Top with fresh berries or banana slices.
Why You Should Do It: These pancakes pack a mean protein punch without a ton of carbs, perfect for those looking to retain lean muscle tissue when trying to lose weight. Did you notice these pancakes were flourless?
3.) Grass-fed Beef and Butternut Squash
Here’s What to Do: Some of us would prefer to eat a delicious, balanced meal instead of a shake, smoothie, or snack. For those looking to satisfy that deep, aching post-workout hunger, this one is for you. Cook up 4 ounces of lean grass-fed ground beef with salt and pepper to taste. Cook ½ butternut squash for 30-45 minutes until soft. Mix them together in the pan when done and add a few ounces of your favorite pasta sauce.
Why You Should Do it: If you are training hard, chances are your appetite is up as well. The grass-fed beef replenishes your explosive energy stores and extra fat from the beef helps keep you satisfied. The starchiness of the squash digests slowly and helps keep hunger at bay, all the while fueling your fat-burning body.
4.) Sardines and Crackers
Here’s What To Do: Take a can of sardines (or tuna, for those of you sticking up your noses to sardines) and add a handful (1/2 cup) of crushed up gluten-free crackers. For flavor, add pepper, a dab of extra virgin olive oil, mustard, and chopped up pickles.
Why You Should Do It: This one is perfect to utilize on-the-go for those working out on their lunch break at work, or those who have to endure an epic commute home from the gym. It is also simple and cost effective. The crackers add some needed carbs, helping to spike your insulin levels to drive nutrients into your muscles. Sardines are full of Omega-3’s and are the perfect protein source.
5.) Metabolic Oatmeal
Here’s What to Do: 1 If preparing in a saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add ¼ cup oats, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and pinch salt; reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minute, or until oats are tender and chewy. Five minutes before serving, stir in 1 scoop protein powder and ½ cup almond milk. Add 2 Tbsp. slivered almonds nuts and ¼ cup blueberries.
Why You Should Do It: Another great convenience food, this dish is best for morning trainers. By adding some fruit and almonds, you gain a whole new appreciation for oatmeal. The balance of carbs and protein make it great for those looking to stabilize their blood sugar (as you should be) and those watching the scale.
6.) Egg Scramble
Here’s What to Do: Scramble 3 whole eggs. Add one cup of chopped mixed veggies. Spinach, onions, mushrooms and red bell peppers are good additions. Add a piece of fruit on the side to meet your carb requirement.
Why You Should Do It: Breakfast for dinner? Sure, why not? Remember, keep the yolks for the extra omega-3 fats, vitamins and minerals. This post-workout is perfect for those on low calories and carbs, but need the protein to retain LEAN muscle and fat to decrease hunger.
7.) Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash
Here’s What To Do: Cook a chicken breast (about 4 ounces), dice it up, put it in a pan with coconut oil. Add ½ cup of diced sweet potato, 1/2 cup of diced apples and add cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. You can make an even bigger batch to store in the fridge to use through the week.
Why You Should Do It: Chicken and sweet potatoes, gourmet recovery style. Sweet potatoes are the perfect fat-burning carb that slowly digest to keep your energy levels high and insulin spike just enough to feed the muscles but not the fat stores.
There are many combinations of the perfect post workout meal.
You always want to have a protein, carb, and sometimes a small amount of fat to balance your macronutrient ratios, which help speed up the fat-burning.
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