Working out requires fueling yourself with the right foods and nutrients to achieve optimal performances. What you eat after a workout is just as important as what you take in before and throughout the rest of your day. A healthful post-workout meal and snack should be part of a well-balanced diet overall to ensure you meet your daily nutritive requirements. Combine a healthful diet with adequate rest and recovery to make maximum strength, endurance and physical fitness gains. You should consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program or diet.
Protein is an essential nutrient needed in the body for the growth, maintenance and repair of muscle and lean body tissue. When you work out, muscle fibers break down, fatigue and tear apart. It is during recovery after your workout that these fibers come together and increase in size and strength for muscle growth and development. In addition to adequate rest, post-workout nutrition that includes protein is essential. Inadequate protein intake can lead to muscle breakdown, weakness and wasting. Low-fat yogurt is a healthful source of protein that makes a quick and convenient snack after a workout to aid in muscle recovery.
Benefits of Yogurt
According to the website Fit Day, low-fat Greek yogurt is one of the best post-workout foods to add to your diet. In contrast to most regular yogurts, Greek yogurt contains nearly double the protein of regular protein, depending on brand type, and has a thicker, denser texture to help fill you up. It is also a source of carbohydrates, which helps to restore depleted energy reserves and provide you with a steady stream of energy. Besides Greek yogurt, several other yogurts can meet your dietary needs. Avoid yogurts with added sugars and fats because those contribute to increased caloric intake and might leave you feeling fatigued and sluggish. Opt for plain, low-fat varieties and read nutrition and ingredient labels carefully. Add your own berries and granola to increase the amount of healthful carbs.
Carbohydrates are the body and brain's primary source of fuel that enables daily physical and mental tasks. Inadequate carb intake can lead to fatigue, lethargy, weakness, dizziness, decreased physical performance gains and difficulty concentrating. Eating carbs after a workout is essential to aid in muscle and body tissue recovery and to prevent prolonged fatigue. Carbs help restock depleted glycogen stores in the muscles and liver post-workout, which enables you to return to another workout within a day or two with increased energy and decreased soreness. Furthermore, adequate carb intake is essential to help spare the use of protein as fuel, allowing it to be used for its primary role in muscle growth and repair.
Not all carbohydrates are created equal and complex carbs should be selected over simple carbohydrates as part of a healthful diet plan. Complex carbs are not stripped of their nutrients during the refining process, have less sugar and are a source of dietary fiber. Fiber aids in regulating the digestive system to remove waste products and undigested foods from the body, which prevents stomach upsets such as bloating and constipation. Furthermore, fiber aids in filling you up and satisfying your appetite after a workout. Avoid processed and packaged granola bars, cookies, candy and foods made with white flour and sugars after a workout. Select fresh fruits and vegetables such as a chopped pear, starchier banana or berries and add to low-fat, high-protein yogurt. Top with whole-grain granola or cereal that is low in sugar for a healthful post-workout snack.