Scientific research and studies have descovered that getting in protein and carbs together within a 2-hour framework post-workout enables the glycogen stores to go through a process called glycogenesis. Any excess carbs are stored in liver and muscle cells. This regeneration is much more efficient than eating a carbohydrate only meal after a workout.
Sometimes getting those nutrients in may not actually happen. But if skipping a meal becomes a habit, you risk compromising your fitness goals, and also just feeling crummy. Here's what happens when you don't eat enough after you exercise and why you should not be skipping meals, especially on days you work out.
Injuries!! Your body needs to repair microtears and damage. Fixing those tears is how your body builds muscle; failing to do so puts your muscles at risk of further damage next time you work out.
Eating the right combination of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals helps speed the process of rebuilding the used glycogen stores, as well as repairing muscle proteins.
You should also be honest about how much of your workout is actually moderate or high intensity. Ultimately you may spend just 30 or 40 minutes out of an hour working out. You move from one thing to the next, you talk a little bit, you get some water, you take your breaks. We’re not talking high-exertion efforts here. So be careful about overdoing the packaged post-workout snacks, many of which have added sugars. Just because you move your body a little bit, it is not a license to over-consume.
Here are a few options.
fruit (berries, apple, bananas, etc.)
whole grain bread
whole grain cereal
Chia seed pudding
turkey or chicken
salmon or tuna
protein shake (plant- or animal-based)