Workouts feel great and get your endorphins flowing, so the post workout period can be blissful. But vigorous exercise does deplete your body of energy and challenge your muscles, so you need to refuel in order to keep the good feeling going all day long.
However, eating the wrong thing after a workout can undo all the good you just did for your body and put you right back into feeling sluggish and tired. Choosing the right thing all the time can be exhausting, though. We think it’s easier to simply avoid the bad stuff, leaving a whole host of excellent post-exercise foods to choose from.
There are a ton of protein shakes and powders advertised as healthy, but many of them contain too much sugar to honestly qualify. Others contain absurd levels of fillers, chemicals, and other bulking agents.
You can still enjoy a quick shake after a workout. It’s a fast and easy way to replenish your body. It’s just vital that you choose a brand that is low-sugar and free from problematic additives. One good powder brand is Form Nutrition, which is very tasty in a smoothie including unsweetened almond milk, whole oats, some ice, and the fruit of your choice.
Processed Energy Bars
Convenience is king in a world where we may struggle just to find the time to exercise, let alone prepare a healthy post-workout meal. Energy bars are a huge help when you need to rush out the door. But the same problems plague many brands of energy bars as do protein shakes – too much sugar and too many unpronounceable ingredients.
If convenience is your main priority, a banana or handful of nuts is just as easy and also completely natural. But if you need something that can take a beating in your gym bag, good low-sugar energy bars include Rxbar and Sakara.
Despite popular opinion, carbs are not the enemy, especially after a workout. Our bodies need carbohydrates as a source of ready fuel, and exercise burns through your supply. Your post-workout meal needs to replace them.
But not all carbs are created equal. Highly processed sources of carbohydrates, like anything made with white flour (bread, pasta, crackers), spike your blood sugar and then rapidly burn away. A better choice for post-workout carbs is fruit.
Bananas, kiwi, strawberries, and blueberries are excellent sources of carbs because those carbs are delivered with enough fiber to modulate the rate at which the natural sugars hit your bloodstream. This means sustained energy throughout the day. Plus, fruit is full of antioxidants and critical nutrients to keep your body strong.