What you eat after your workout session is something that you should not take too lightly because this can well be one of the most important meals of the day. Your muscles will store extra energy as glycogen and proteins; so, when you are exercising, the body starts to burn fuel that it derives from the pre-workout meal you have eaten. Following this, it starts to break down this glycogen stored in your muscles. This is why athletes and fitness conscious people always plan the timings of their meals. Eating the right kinds of foods before and after workouts can actually influence your performance. When you are already following a healthy balanced diet and get enough energy to carry out your normal bodily functions, your own body can signal to you when you need food. You need to understand that while you must burn more calories than what you consume in order to lose weight, you should not eat fewer calories that what your body needs to function optimally.
Foods that you should eat post workouts:
Drinks: When you workout moderately, you will be losing quite a bit of fluid every hour that you exercise. So it is important to replenish the lost fluids by drinking lots of water which will improve recovery process. Heavy perspiration tends to cause mineral and electrolyte imbalance and a sports drink may help to replace this fluid loss.
Carbs: The general belief is that you should eat about half the number of calories you have burned through your workout session. So if you have been able to burn as many as 500 calories, you should aim to consume about 250 calories after you have completed exercising. The best way to do so it so eat more carbs after workouts. This is because carbs are more necessary than proteins after exercises. They replace glycogen or your muscle fuel and prepare you for the next workout. Incidentally, even the high carb foods which are typically not encouraged for weight loss can be had at this time. The body is better able to digest refined carbs then.
Proteins: You need to eat some high-quality proteins too after a workout session. This prevents breakdown of muscle tissues and helps in repairing and rebuilding them.
Fats: Excess fat intake after exercising may be counterproductive because fats as a whole do not aid post-workout recovery.
These are some things to remember regarding your food intake after exercising. However, when you do not feel like consuming a snack or a meal right after workouts, you should not force yourself to do so. The body has the power to replace muscle energy so long as you continue to eat your regular meals. It is wise to eat a small meal or snack rich in carbohydrate and proteins after exercising; for instance, smoothies, chocolate milk and shakes, energy bars etc may be good options. Fluid and carbs should ideally be eaten within half an hour of your workout because that is when the body is best suited to utilize these nutrients. When you work out regularly but fail to replace the lost fluids, you are likely to feel less energized during your next workout session.