Eating the right food after doing a cardio workout helps you lose fat and weight. It also helps to aid muscle recovery and reduce soreness. You should know that the food you eat before and after cardio plays an important role in burning calories. Usually, we do a cardio workout to burn more calories and lose fat. So you should pay attention to what you are going to eat after your workout to keep your body burning fat.
Also, reducing your carbohydrate intake and consuming more protein makes it easier to lose weight. Eating too many carbohydrates after your workout causes blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. This means that your body will stop burning fat and you’ll not lose the weight that you’ve dreamt of. While eating more protein helps to rebuild muscles, reduces hunger, and boost metabolism.
So providing your body with protein, healthy fats, and veggies after cardio can speed up recovery and lower blood sugar levels which turns your body into a fat-burning machine. It’s tricky to decide what to eat after cardio but we can help you choose the right food.
Also, choosing the best meals to eat after your workout depends on the type and intensity of cardio you completed.
Keep in mind that eating unhealthy food will not help you lose fat even if you work out daily. So here are some helpful guidelines that you should follow to put your body in a fat-burning mode:
What Are The Best Foods To Eat After A Light Cardio Session?
If you’re doing a light cardio session, eating a small snack about 150-250 calories can help refuel your body. Also, drinking enough water is essential to replenish lost fluids. Usually, a light cardio session is under 30 minutes.
You should eat about 15-20 grams of protein and 30-35 grams of carbs to give your body energy and help muscles to recover. So carbs to protein ratio for a light cardio session should be 3:1.
Here are some snack ideas that are full of nutrients to try:
- Greek yogurt.
- 2 tbsp of peanut butter and one banana or apple.
- 2 ounces of almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews.
- Whole-wheat bread and peanut butter.
What To Eat After An Intense Cardio Session?
When you maximize your effort during HIIT cardio, you will force your body into burning more calories and fat. So after an intense cardio session, your body will need food to replenish energy and rebuild muscles. You will also need to drink enough water to keep your body hydrated.
So eat a balanced meal that contains enough protein, carbs, and healthy fats after your workout. Carbs to protein ratio should be 3:1 or 4:1 for an intense cardio session. Keep in mind that skipping post-workout meals can lead to poor muscle recovery and performance.
So here are some meal ideas that you can try to refuel your energy:
- Chicken salad with veggies. Check out this easy & healthy recipe.
- Almond butter or peanut butter on whole-wheat toast with sliced banana.
- Greek yogurt with fresh berries or watermelon.
- Tuna on a toast.
- One hard-boiled egg, one tomato, and berries or citrus fruits.
- Banana protein shake ( one scoop of protein powder and a banana ).
What To Eat After A run?
Running is an effective cardio exercise that can help you lose weight and strengthen your joints. It can also boost your mood. Training for hours requires a balanced post-workout meal to boost energy levels. You should be having a meal with a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 3:1.
To lose fat and weight after a run, you can have some small meals like:
- Veggie omelet. For the recipe, check out this link.
- 2 tbsp of peanut butter and one apple or banana.
- Feta cheese with cherry tomatoes, watermelon, red onions, and lime juice.
- Hummus with carrots, cucumbers, or bell peppers.
- Protein shake with fruits.
If you are running a marathon, your post-race meal is super important. Your body needs this meal to replenish lost fluids and nutrients to restore hydration and rebuild muscles. Some meal ideas include:
- Greek yogurt with granola and fruit.
- Chicken broccoli penne salad.
- Oatmeal bowl ( contains oats, milk, nuts, and fruits ). For the recipe, check out this link.
- A bagel with 2 hard-boiled eggs.
And of course, you need to drink enough water to keep your body hydrated. You can also have a sports drink with electrolytes to replenish lost fluids and sodium.
What Is The Best Time To Eat After A Cardio Workout?
When you exercise, you deplete all your muscle’s energy stores. So you should eat within 30-60 minutes to restore muscle glycogen. Glycogen is the energy stored in your muscles.
If you haven’t eaten before your workout, you should eat a meal that rich in protein and carbs right after a workout. Also, having a meal before a workout ( 1-2 hours ) could be enough to rebuild muscles. This is because when you eat, food breaks down into amino acid that remains in the bloodstream for two hours after eating.
Eating healthy meals after a workout promotes muscle growth and accelerate recovery. This is super important as it helps to reduce soreness especially if you’ll exercise again as your muscles won’t repair themselves without having energy.
To lose fat or maintain a healthy weight, you should work out regularly and eat healthy meals. Deciding what to eat after a cardio workout depends on the intensity of your session. It also depends on the time you spent doing your workout.
Drinking enough water after your workout is essential to restore hydration. Also, having a sports drink post workouts is super important as they help to replenish the sodium lost through sweat.
Eating healthy balanced meals that contain protein, healthy fats, and veggies can speed up muscle recovery and boost energy levels in your body. This helps also to keep your body burning more calories and fat. So try out these healthy snack ideas that I mentioned above after a cardio session and tell us what you think!