After a night of rest, your proverbial gas tank has been running on empty and is in desperate need of fuel. But some find it difficult to eat first thing in the morning and especially prior to a run. This makes it increasingly important to ensure proper nutrition after your workout for muscle recovery and optimal overall health. The goals of most post-workout nutrition regimens should include the replenishment of fluids and carbohydrates lost during the workout as well as a bit of protein for muscle repair and recovery.
Over the years, individuals have anecdotally turned to low-fat chocolate milk for their post-work out nutritional needs which contains all of the critical nutrient recovery components. However, the truth is that you can get these elements in a number of ways. If appetite and/or nausea pose an issue after a run, aim for liquid foods such as smoothies, soups, etc. If appetite isn’t a problem, you may want to choose a snack or meal that contains the basic recovery nutrients. For example, one snack option may include graham crackers with peanut butter alongside a banana and a small glass of low-fat chocolate milk. As a meal you may want to try a small breakfast sandwich with eggs or liquid egg substitute and low-fat cheese on a whole wheat English muffin along with a piece of fruit and a sports drink.
Timing is another important factor. Ideally recovery nutrition should take place between 15 minutes and 1-hour post workout. Eating as soon as possible replenishes the nutrients needed for the repair and recovery of muscles during exercise. Starting the day with a healthy meal not only serves to refuel you physically, but provides the energy for mental-cognitive functioning as you begin your busy day.