Exercise can work wonders on your body, and it can get you healthy and slim. But eating the wrong foods after a workout can erase all that effort and get you back where you started, if not worse. It’s not a secret that workouts and nutrition must work together to get you in shape. So, it’s really important to make smart choices when it comes to your meals, especially your post-exercise snack.

You know that feeling of nice exhaustion you get after a great workout? That moment when you know you’ve put all your muscles to work, and you are one step closer to your goal? Well, your muscles actually did more than that. They have consumed their glycogen stores as fuel to sustain the effort. Some protein in your muscles were also affected by the workout. Your body needs to recover, and the best way you can help is by providing the right nutrients at the right time after intensive effort.

So, what should you eat after a hard workout? It depends on how often you exercise and to what purpose. If your goal is to lose weight you won’t have the same meal as a bodybuilder, for instance. But generally speaking, your meal should be based on the following categories: proteins, carbs, and fat. It may seem strange, but your body needs them all.

Protein – your Post-Exercise Alli
Protein is a crucial element in a healthy diet. But if you are also exercising, it becomes even more important. Not only does it give you the strength to go through your workouts and helps you lose weight, but it also helps you recover afterwards. It provides the amino acids you need to repair the protein in your muscles. So, choose healthy proteins like salmon, tuna, eggs, Greek yogurt, chicken, or cottage cheese.

Carbs. That’s right, you heard well!
Although carbs are usually the enemy especially if you are trying to lose weight, you shouldn’t avoid them altogether. In fact, after an intense effort, starchy carbs are great to help your body get back on track and recuperate its glycogen stores. The key is to only eat the necessary amount. And that depends on the type of workout you do. Also, if you combine carbs and protein in your meal right after exercising it will stimulate your insulin secretion. Add some rice, oatmeal or sweet potatoes to your meal, and you will get great results.

Add a Bit of Fat to the Mix
Fat is definitely something you need to use with moderation. You may even choose to take it out of the menu completely. But there are some good fats that won’t affect your post-workout recovery. Some whole milk, for example, will actually help your muscles regenerate. Some nuts or avocado will also do the trick.

Combine and Conquer!
Putting together a healthy meal that will get you back on your feet after an intense workout is not difficult. Just choose your favorite items from each category and enjoy! Here are some examples you will like even if you are a picky eater: toast with eggs and avocado, salmon and sweet potatoes, yogurt with berries and nuts, cottage cheese, and fruits. Combine them to your pleasure, just make sure to make healthy choices! And don’t forget to drink plenty of water. You will definitely need to hydrate after a workout, especially if your day is far from being over.

Author's Bio: 

Eric Leaader is a personal trainer and owner.