5 Healthy Foods to Eat After Cardio
After a run, bike ride, or other cardiovascular activity, refueling your body with the right foods aids recovery and prevents weariness and low blood sugar. According to Marie Spano, a registered dietitian and contributing writer for "Today's Dietitian," your muscles respond best to foods consumed within 30 minutes after a workout because physical activity sensitizes your muscle tissue to particular nutrients and hormones.
Carbs Following Cardio
Grains are high in carbs, which are the body's and muscles' primary fuel source, especially after intense workout. High-glycemic carbohydrate foods, such as a white English muffin or bagel, restore energy in your muscles the fastest, even if they aren't always the healthiest options. Whole-grain foods, such as oatmeal or 100 percent whole-grain bread, provide less fast repair but more nutrients and better blood sugar levels later on. Top whole-grain bread or oatmeal with honey for the best of both worlds: a fast-acting, higher-glycemic carb for your post-workout meal.
Select Fresh Fruit
After physical exertion, fresh fruit is a simple and healthful carbohydrate-rich option. It also delivers vital amounts of fluid, which is necessary to avoid dehydration following perspiration. Watermelon, apples, citrus fruits, strawberries, cherries, and apricots are all high in water content. Fruit juices are a quick-acting carbohydrate source, although they usually lack fiber and contain high levels of natural sugar. Make a fresh fruit smoothie instead, using the entire fruit. Choose high-potassium fruits like bananas, apricots, and cantaloupes to replenish potassium lost via sweating.
Lean Protein Alternatives
After cardio, have some protein. While carbs should be the primary emphasis of your post-cardio meal, a moderate quantity of protein, such as 7 to 10 grams, can aid muscle growth and repair. Prepare your oatmeal with a cup of low-fat milk, or pair your whole-grain crackers with 1/2 cup of cooked lentils. Low-fat yogurt, salmon, lean meats, eggs, and quinoa are all good sources of protein.
Sodium Sources After Exercise
While taking too much sodium is bad for your heart, it's crucial to keep your sodium levels in check – especially if you perspire a lot while aerobics. While playing soccer or football, players are known to sweat anywhere from 172 to 1,139 milligrams. Spano recommends pairing sodium-containing sports drinks or water with a sodium-containing meal. The sodium content of roasted almonds, bran flakes, quick cereal, and frozen waffles ranges from 200 to 300 mg per serving. You can also season your oatmeal or smoothie with a pinch of salt.
Options for On-the-Go
Although fresh, natural meals are the healthiest foods after cardio, if you're short on time, there are other possibilities. After cardio, ready-made smoothies and bars are a convenient snack option. To aid muscle recovery, look for ones that have both protein and carbohydrates. For the best nutritional benefit, choose alternatives with little or no added sugar. Individually wrapped hard-boiled eggs, single servings of cheese, and little bags of nuts or seeds are also available in many stores as convenient, healthful options.
Is Eating After Exercise Good or Bad?
Getting the most out of your workout, whether you're a serious athlete or a health-conscious weekend warrior, is critical. Do you want to know if doing intense or light activity after or before a meal can help you reach your fitness goals the fastest? Timing can sometimes make a difference. It's critical to eat the correct foods before and after exercise to assist manage blood glucose levels, increase exercise performance, and speed up recovery time.
The amount of activity and intensity of your workout determine whether or not exercising after dinner is beneficial. Aerobic workouts, strength training, and weight-loss exercises may be more successful if done before meals. For more informal exercise, such as strolling, the time of your meals may not be as important to the overall effects of your exercise regimen.
Exercise Before Eating
It's best not to eat right before an intense workout, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, because digestion in your stomach is pushed to compete with the needs of the energy required by your muscles. While training, a cardio workout after dinner may cause indigestion and GI pain. Exercising vigorously on an empty stomach might cause cramping, nausea, and vomiting.
If you're looking to shed some pounds, exercising before meals may help you burn more calories. In October 2016, a review published in the British Journal of Nutrition looked at the metabolic consequences of exercising on an empty stomach versus eating breakfast first. The meta-analysis found that aerobic exercise done before a meal increased fat burning more than exercise done afterward.
Another study found that waiting till after your workout to eat increases fat burning and blood sugar regulation. A six-week study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in October 2019 looked at the effects of exercising before and after meals. Researchers discovered that exercising before vs after a meal increased body fat utilization by nearly twofold, as well as glucose insulin sensitivity.
Is it beneficial to exercise after dinner?
While there are advantages to working out on an empty stomach, it is not always the best option. You should avoid exercising while hungry. If you don't eat, you can feel lethargic or lightheaded, and your stamina will suffer. Hunger sensations and low blood sugar levels can make it difficult to complete your workout.
If you like to eat anything before your workout, focus on high-carb items that will provide you with the energy you require. However, before exercising, wait for the food to digest. If you have a heavy meal, wait three to four hours before exercising; if you eat a small meal or snack, wait one to three hours before exercising.
According to a review published in May 2014 in the journal Nutrients, endurance athletes generally choose to consume a meal with low-glycemic index carbs before training, which helps to optimize their metabolism and glycogen stores. Participants who ate a carbohydrate-rich meal within 60 minutes after exercising improved their performance in some situations, according to the study.
Select the Best Pre-Workout Foods
To assist maintain blood glucose concentration, increase exercise performance, and improve recovery time, eat the correct foods and drink enough liquids before and after exercising.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends eating foods with a balance of protein and readily digestible carbs one to four hours before a workout. The fuel is carbs. Protein produces the necessary amino acids for muscular activity.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following foods for your pre-workout meal:
- cereals with whole grains and low-fat milk
- Toasted whole wheat
- Yogurt without fat
- Pasta with whole grains
- Fruit and oatmeal
- rice (brown)
- Vegetables and fruits
According to the American Heart Association, you should consume only a little quantity of unsaturated fat and limit your protein consumption because these fuels digest slowly in your stomach and may inhibit the supply of oxygen-rich blood to your muscles.
If you only have five to ten minutes before your workout and need a quick boost, eat a piece of fruit like an apple or a banana. Also, remember to stay hydrated. You can add extra carbs to your fluid intake by diluting 100% fruit juice with water.
Options for Post-Workout Nutrition
After your workout, it's vital to consume the correct nutrients to aid recovery and provide the macronutrients required to rebuild and restore muscle tissue that has been destroyed. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you should eat within 60 minutes of finishing your workout.
In addition to enough fluids, your post-workout meal should contain the proper quantities of carbs and protein. Because your body's glycogen stores are depleted during exercise, you should eat carbohydrates afterward to help refill them. A little amount of protein is also required to give amino acids that aid in the reduction of inflammation as well as the building and repair of muscles.
A 3:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio is recommended by the American Council on Exercise. In other words, for every gram of protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates are consumed. According to ACE, consuming this combo within 30 minutes of exercise will nearly quadruple insulin response, resulting in extra glycogen being available for your next workout.
Should I eat after doing exercise to lose weight?
Your body works to refill glycogen stores as well as repair and renew muscle proteins after a workout. Eating the right nutrition soon after you exercise may help your body perform this activity more rapidly. It's critical to eat carbs and protein after your workout.
What should I do to lose weight after cardio?
5 things you should always do after a workout to help you lose weight faster.
- More Zs are needed. We know, you'd never have to work out again if you could drop a kg every time you heard about the benefits of sleep.
- Get some momentum going.
- Up your post-workout snack game.
- Rub it away.
- Increase your water consumption.
After cardio, what should you eat?
In general, a combination of protein and carbohydrates is the greatest thing to eat after a cardio session: the latter for energy (in the form of glycogen) and the former for muscle rehabilitation.
When should I eat after doing cardio to lose weight?
When you restrict your body of food after an exercise, you lose the muscular and metabolic improvements as well as the weight-loss benefits that come with them. With that stated, Michele told POPSUGAR that "ultimately, it's recommended that you attempt to eat within 50 minutes following a workout."
Is protein required after cardio?
- While a cardio activity does not require a large amount of protein, it is still vital to consume some.
- Protein should be consumed after your cardio session rather than before.
Is a banana healthy after a workout?
Bananas, like other fruits, are a fantastic post-workout snack. This can help to minimize inflammation and replace muscle glycogen stores, resulting in a faster recovery. This fruit can be beneficial before or during an exercise, in addition to aiding recovery.
Should I eat carbohydrates after doing cardio?
Finally, the bottom line. Following exercise, it's critical to consume the right balance of carbs and protein. It promotes recovery and performance throughout your next session by stimulating muscle protein synthesis. It is critical that you do not go more than a few hours without eating or snacking.
Is rice okay to consume after a workout?
Carbohydrates replace depleted glycogen levels, providing energy and aiding in the fight against weariness. Whole grains such as quinoa, oats, brown rice, and other whole grains are excellent choices.