All too often, gym-goers focus purely on cardio for weight loss and completely overlook the benefits of weight training. Lifting weights can help burn calories, increase stamina, and build muscle. But, you may not know that when you begin weight-training you need to adjust your diet to see maximum results. Namely, you need to consume the right balance of protein and carbohydrates soon after your workout. Andrew Herr, president and CEO of in-home personal training service Mind + Matter, recommends that “clients get protein into their system within 30 minutes [of working out] to maximize the effect across all muscles worked, including those which only got worked early in the session.”A 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein (for example, a banana and a handful of almonds) post-workout restores energy and helps muscles recover. And, it's possible that protein may help muscles absorb and convert the energy from carbohydrates, turning it into fuel for the body. But a burger and fries isn’t going to cut it; you need to choose what you put into your system very carefully after a workout. The foods you eat should be high in protein and whole-grain carbohydrates, but low in calories and fat.
Another thing to know? Don’t subscribe to the “more is better” myth when it comes to protein. Some powders and shakes have as much as 80 grams of protein per serving, but Andrew Herr says “the body can only integrate up to about 20 grams of protein” at a time, so shoot for an intake somewhere in that ballpark. Consuming this amount of protein will help your body receive the nutrients it needs without taking in an excess of calories.
If you’re looking for healthy carb- and protein-rich foods to help you recover post-weight lifting, you’ve come to the right place; we’ve got 12 delicious ideas for you.
A serving of low-fat cottage cheese after a workout provides energy-boosting carbohydrates and muscle-building protein. It also contains almost twice as much water as other cheeses, which will help you re-hydrate.
Eggs are one of the best sources of protein around, and consuming just the whites cuts out the fat, carbohydrates, and cholesterol. Try a spinach and grilled chicken omelet for maximum protein.