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For those who strive to attain a fit and healthy body, it is essential to understand the importance of not only a varied workout (including different cardiovascular exercises), but also the importance of diet. What you eat can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your workout. Ensuring that you eat the right food after you exercise helps with muscle recovery.
What to Eat After Cardio
If you are conscious of your weight, consuming low carb or carb-free foods after cardio would be most advisable. There are vast varieties of meal replacement shakes (protein shakes) which provide a low fat, carb-free, nutritious blast to your body, or you can opt for a light salad, with poultry or white fish. These options help you achieve your weight loss goals, as well as provide your body with the protein needed to rebuild the muscles. There are also numerous healthy, low fat, protein rich options to choose from when deciding what to eat after cardio.
1. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is high in protein and rich in fat burning calcium, making it an ideal choice for post-cardio food. Greek yogurt is also packed with B vitamins and potassium. B vitamins aid in energy restoration and potassium helps to reduce inflammation in the muscles and joints. Greek yogurt contains natural carbohydrates which help to restore glycogen levels in your muscles.
Berries contain natural sugars that restore glycogen to your muscles, yet their sugar content isn’t large enough to spike you insulin levels. Berries, like Greek yogurt, are also high in potassium, as well as vitamin C. Vitamin C has numerous health benefits, including anti-inflammatory benefits that can aid your muscles after exercising. Berries are also full of antioxidants which are extremely beneficial to your overall cardiovascular system.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be beneficial both before and after exercising. A small amount of the oil helps to reduce post-exercise insulin boosts, as well as to detox your body from wastes that accumulate during your workout.
How to Enjoy
A small amount of oil can be added to shakes or smoothies and can help boost energy levels before and after workouts.
4. Egg Whites
Egg whites are an excellent choice when deciding what to eat after cardio. Egg whites are fat-free, carb-free, high in protein and easily accessible.
How to Enjoy
Egg whites are very versatile and can be eaten on their own or cooked with vegetables. Some even eat them raw, insuring they attain the full amount of nutrition within the whites, although this does require a very strong stomach and is probably best avoided.
Unsalted, raw almonds are great to eat post-workout. They have high protein levels, helping to promote muscle recovery. They also contain high amounts of B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients can have an extremely beneficial effect on your heart health, muscle health, blood pressure, as well as weight loss.
How to Enjoy
Almonds can be served with berries, fruit or Greek yogurt.
Avocados are naturally high in monounsaturated fats and fiber. Consuming monounsaturated fats instead of dietary saturated fat has been shown to reduce abdominal fat. Foods high in fiber can benefit your heart and digestive health, as well as help to improve blood sugar control and weight management.
How to Enjoy
Avocados do not require cooking before consumption, simply slice one in half, season and enjoy. It’s the best choise if you’re still wondering what to eat after cardio.
7. Wild Salmon
Wild salmon is rich in protein, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s that wild salmon contains can help with insulin sensitivity which reduces the fat levels around your waistline. Wild salmon can also speed up your metabolism through activation of the thyroid hormone.
How to Enjoy
Salmon can be prepared in numerous ways, including oven baked, fried or poached. To ensure the most nutritious serving, try poached wild salmon with a healthy light salad.
Kale is considered one of the most nutrient packed vegetables on the planet, making it an extremely viable option. Kale is packed full of Vitamins A and C, as well as fiber, protein, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Kale helps to clear toxins from your body. A normal size serving has enough detoxifying nutrients to boost your liver’s detoxification process.
When to Eat After Cardio
Since you have a clear idea about what to eat after cardio, it is also important to know whento eat them. Not all exercise requires the consumption of food afterwards. For a light cardio workout (around 30-45 minutes), you can refuel your body with water alone. But if you are doing a more intense workout, such as a race-training for miles, you need to consume more than 200 calories soon afterwards. Just keep in mind that the more calories you burn, the more essential it is to refuel with the above mentioned foods, around 20-30 minutes after your workout is completed.