Carefully choosing what you eat after you work out can magnify the benefits of exercising.
What Should I Eat After a Workout?
Your post-workout nutritional needs include fluids, carbohydrates and protein. This is true not just for the endurance athletes and serious bodybuilders but for the general exercise enthusiast also. Each provides distinct benefits:
Fluids. Hydration helps restore fluids lost from sweating.
Carbohydrates. Carbs help restore glycogen, which provides fuel that muscles need for continued training.
Protein. Protein and amino acids help rebuild muscle tissue.
You can satisfy your post-workout nutritional needs by eating a meal or a snack, or you can choose a protein shake that also contains carbohydrates. The Mayo Clinic lists yogurt and fruit, cheese and crackers or a peanut butter sandwich as snacks that can meet your post-workout nutritional needs.
“Everybody that exercises on a regular basis can benefit from protein shakes,” Dr. Carl says. “Protein shakes can help enhance athletic performance and endurance, and help the body recover and repair after exercising.”
Dozens of brands of protein shakes are available; they vary in the types and amount of protein and carbohydrate levels they contain. Milk, soy, whey and casein are some of the protein sources in shakes. Soy protein is as effective as other sources of protein but has the added benefit of containing antioxidants that are beneficial to health.
ProVantage® includes 13 grams of soy protein in each serving. Soy protein increases muscle mass, reduces fatigue and burns fat for increased energy.
ProVantage also contains antioxidants from soy and other ingredients that support the immune system and a blend of amino acids that reduce fatigue and shorten recovery time after working out.
Nutritional studies have found that soy protein can lower total cholesterol levels and lower the “bad” cholesterol called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This important benefit, while not necessary for post-workout nutritional needs, may lead some people to choose soy over other proteins for their shakes.
ProVantage, like other protein shakes, contains carbohydrates as well. The combination of protein and carbohydrates enables the body to store more glycogen for your muscles.
The top priority for post-workout nutritional needs is replacing fluids lost during exercise in order to prevent dehydration, and water generally is considered the primary way to replace fluids. But intense workouts lasting an hour or more require a sports drink for better hydration.
Isotonic sports drinks such as Innergize!® can help maintain the body’s electrolyte balance and provide energy because they contain fast-acting carbohydrates.