So I used to drink protein shakes post workout like nobody's business and thought I was supposed to because that is what I always "heard." However after switching to Paleo I have taken a harder look at what is actually in this protein powder and lets just say there is nothing whole foodish about this stuff! So that's when I discovered that real food would need to be my post-workout nutrition. I guess this means my GNC gold card won't be getting as much action anymore, but hey now I have a whole extra shelf in my pantry because those giant buckets of "protein" won't be taking up residence Yay!! Anyways it might take a few more minutes to prep some post workout food, but really in no time you will realize it is actually easier and you don't have to wash the blender...Bonus!!
Today was leg day, and not only was it leg day, but it was leg day in the evening...After chowing down some beef fajita lettuce wraps, I really had to summon up some extra motivation to get to the gym, I really just wanted to sit on the couch and catch up on "Nashville" ( I am super behind on this seasons episodes btw) As usual though once I was there and the tunes were blasting in my ear, I was dropping squats and dead-lifting like nobodies business... Ah leg day I love to hate you, but you always deliver the goods... At any rate I found my self of course a bit hungry once I got home, so I threw a couple eggs on the skillet and ate it along with a clementine to replenish myself. Simple as that and no blasted blender to clean at 9:00 at night woo hoo!
Why do we need protein after lifting? I am sure many of you already have an idea about this, but I'll just try and break it down simple. When you lift weights you are essentially breaking down the muscle fibers, you actually don't build muscle until you rest in the days following, however the protein is important to consume between 30 min-1 hour post workout because it floods the body with amino acids that speed the recovery of the muscle fibers and aid muscle growth. The amount of protein and the time window has been debatable but I like to eat when I return home which is usually closer to 45 min post workout. Although protein is the most essential macro after lifting (ideally 20 grams worth), make sure to add in a bit of carbohydrates and fat as well for example half of a sweet potato is an excellent choice, or second to that a piece of fruit like an apple, 1 tsp of coconut oil, or some avocado etc.
If you just finished up a 4 mile run then you actually want to replenish with a higher carbohydrate post-workout meal, think a few ounces of sweet potato, or a large apple, along with a couple ounces of meat or an egg fried in coconut oil. Endurance training requires a higher usage of glycogen stores so you will want to be sure to replenish them. I don't do a whole lot of endurance training but maybe a couple times a week I do a 3 or 4 mile run, I am however doing a lower carb protocol for higher fat loss so I have to consider this in my days worth of carb intake and plan accordingly.
Some examples of post-workout human food are as follows:
2 fried eggs
4-6 oz of leftover meat (chicken, steak, salmon)
Baked sweet potato or squash
Sauteed veggies (Broccoli, cauliflower, root veggies, kale, spinach etc)
handful of almonds or other nuts
You get the idea, I will try to be creative from time to time and maybe post up a "fun" PW meal, but for now keep it simple :)For some additional ideas check out this blog I found it helpful!