After a workout do you stare into your fridge and pantry, contemplating your options for the most appealing protein/carb/fat ratio (here it is in case you’re wondering)?
Stop over-analyzing! Use the KISS method, or Keep It Simple, Stupid.
What’s that mean for a perfect post-activity meal? Stick to the basics. I’m a firm believer in initiating a glycemic load after a heavy weight training or cardiovascular session, to maximize protein synthesis and minimize muscle catabolism. (Boost muscle recovery.)
I propose you do that by sitting down within an hour after your workout and eating a meal consisting of a heavy dose of white rice (there are lots of varieties, but my preference is jasmine), together with a source of lean protein. Plain old chicken is a good complement. This combination creates a lasting, steady insulin response that aids in recovery. I’m emphasizing the word meal here. Stick to whole foods.
Although many advocate for a quick protein powder and simple sugar shake after workouts, I have found that combination produces an immediate crash. Despite what some ads suggest, you don’t need to pound down a shake within six minutes after leaving the gym to take advantage of the post-workout “anabolic window.” The difference in the long run is negligible. As long as your pre-workout meal was solid, providing you with the necessary nutrients to fuel your workout in its entirety, sitting down to this meal 30 to 60 minutes after your workout will have no negative impact whatsoever.
Remember, you have several more meal opportunities throughout the day. A good post-workout meal is important, but it’s only one component of a healthy lifestyle. Put as much focus on your other meals as you do this one. If you do, your goals will be that much closer to becoming reality.