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September 2, 2012, last updated November 28, 2012
By Alex Elson, Contributing Columnist and Editors, Mangoboss
More Americans are starting to hit the gyms. According to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, as recently as 2008, approximately
16% of people living in the United States (aged 15 and older)
engaged in some sort of exercise. That means, that on any
given day in 2008, there were almost 60 million people
working out in the U.S. alone.
With that amount of people interested in working out, it
seems like there should be more attention paid to what kind
of diet will give you the best results. As one would guess,
carbohydrates are at the top of the list, and unsaturated fats
don’t fit into this puzzle, but check out the full list below to
see what surprise foods can give a little extra kick when
trying to kick your butt into shape. What foods or drinks are
best for helping you to recover after a workout?
1) Eat Carbohydrates to Recover from a Workout? –
Okay, you just finished a grueling workout to lose some
weight. The last thing you should so is to eat carbs, right?
Wrong. Studies show that the post-workout time is exactly
the time your body needs carbs the most.
According to a study conducted by the Australian Institute of
Sport in 2004, carbohydrates are always going to be a good
recovery food. Whether the workout is anaerobic or aerobic,
the introduction of carbohydrates as early as 30 minutes
following the workout will help to regenerate energy for the
body. What are some carb-heavy foods, you ask? Well, pasta
for starters (think of those high-school soccer or football
Also on the list of good carbohydrate sources are: potatoes,
shredded wheat and grape nuts.
2) Eat Protein-Heavy Food To Promote Glycogen Recovery –
In the same 2004 study, researchers concluded that when it
is not possible to snack frequently on carbohydrate-rich
foods, an alternative is to eat protein heavy foods to replace
the glycogen burned during a workout.
Glycogen, for the layperson, is the body’s back-up energy
source (second of course to those good old fat reserves).
This polysaccharide is stored in the liver and the muscles, and
needs replenishing following a workout.
3) Eat Fruits to Replace Important Nutrients – Our Australian
friends were busy in their 2004 study, including not only
protein-rich carbohydrates on the list of solid recovery foods,
but also including all nutrient-rich carbs. Amongst some of
the most beneficial nutrient-rich carbohydrates are,
unsurprisingly, fruits. Bananas help to replace potassium lost
during a workout, and they're loaded with water.
Strawberries are also particularly nutrient-packed.
4) Drink Gatorade To Replenish Electrolytes – Although
Gatorade is sometimes criticized for its high sugar content, a
study conducted in 2003 by the American College of Sports
Medicine concluded that Gatorade is a great way to replenish
diminished electrolyte sources following a workout.
5) Drink Water to Stay Hydrated – According to the same
study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine,
remaining hydrated before during and after a workout is
essential if an athlete wants to achieve the best results.
Drinking water helps to avoid dehydration and restore blood
6) Use Vitamin Supplements when Practicing a Restricted
Diet – The researchers at the American College of Sports
Medicine concluded that vitamin Supplements are not 100%
necessary, especially if an athlete doesn’t restrict his or her
diet. However, in cases when diet restriction is being
practiced (say, during a diet), the use of vitamin or nutrient
substitutes can help the body replenish valuable energy
7) Eat (Healthy) Fatty Foods to Replace Energy Stores –
Contrary to some popular belief, the American College of
Sports Medicine’s report states that replenishing the body’s
fat reserves is an important element of a post-workout diet.
This doesn’t mean that you should go out and grab a
hamburger after a workout, but pursuing healthy fatty
options such as 1% milk and other reduced-fat dairy
products can have a positive impact on the body post-
8) Mineral Supplements are Also Necessary for Athletes
Practicing Diet Restriction – According to a study that the
same American College of Sports Medicine conducted in
2000, just like vitamin supplements, mineral supplements may
be necessary to replenish energy sources in a post-workout
9) Nutritional Ergogenic Aids Should be Used with Caution –
According to the McKinley Health Center, ergogenic aids have
become a staple in the diets of the likes of body builders and
college athletes. Nonetheless, the authors of the report listed
in point 8 warn that their use should be carefully monitored
and discussed with a physician or nutritionist so that the
athlete is pairing the product with the proper diet and not
unintentionally harming their body.
10) Eat Vegetables to Replenish Energy Stores Following a
Workout – Going back to the 2004 Australian study
mentioned earlier, vegetables are also listed as a valuable
post-workout energy source. Not only do vegetables provide
countless nutrients to a nutrient-diminished body, they often
hydrate the body as well.
11. Chocolate Milk May be The Best Workout Recovery Drink
Some research has suggested that drinking chocolate milk
may be even better in helping you recover from a workout
than water or energy drinks. A study by researchers at the
Central Washington University's Department of Nutrition
Exercise and Health Sciences discovered that athletes who
drink low fat chocolate milk following endurance exercises
experienced less muscle damage. As the study concluded"
Consuming chocolate milk immediately after exercise and
again at 2 h post-exercise appears to be optimal for exercise
recovery and may attenuate indices of muscle damage."
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|Eat bananas to replenish potassium lost during a workout.