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You've just completed a killer workout and you're cooling down. Your work is done, right? Well, not quite, not until you've taken care of the three "R's"—refuel, rebuild and rehydrate. Fifteen to 60 minutes following your workout, you need to eat and drink an appropriate carbohydrate to protein ratio. Protein helps rebuild muscles while carbs refuel depleted energy stores. (5 simple options.)
So, what's the ratio?
The best post-workout choices are meals or snacks, or drinks, that have a 2:1 or 3:1 carb to protein ratio. The ratio depends on the intensity of your workout—2:1 for short, low-to-medium-intensity workouts and 3:1 for longer, harder sessions.
Ultimately, the best post-workout foods are the ones that work well for you.
If you prefer a post-workout drink
Homemade and ready-to-drink protein shakes are a good choice. Depending on what you like, it can be as easy as adding a scoop of whey protein powder to eight ounces of milk. Research shows that a big glass of chocolate milk works just as well. Fruit juice with whey protein is another option.
If you need portable post-workout foods
- A protein bar
- Whole-grain toast and peanut butter
- Apple and Greek yogurt
- English muffin and almond butter
If you're ready for a meal
- Eggs and wheat toast
- Subway sandwich
- Peanut butter and banana sandwich with chocolate milk
- Chicken with pasta marinara
- Chicken and rice
- Bean burrito