Have you been working out but haven’t seen the results you’d like to see? Does it take you a few days to recover? Or maybe you’re just extra tired after working out and can’t seem to get your energy back? It could be because you aren’t making the most of your post workout meal.
When we work out, we create tiny tears in our muscles. This is actually a good thing because as the tears heal, our muscles become bigger and stronger. But in order for this healing to occur, our muscles need protein. Protein is made up of amino acids which are known as the building blocks of life. I like to think of them as Lego pieces that our body uses to build things such as muscle, bone, and other tissues. After working out, our bodies need some of these building blocks to repair and rebuild our muscles.
There are two types of proteins: complete and incomplete. To be considered a complete a protein (which refers to amino acids, the building blocks of protein), it must comprise twenty different amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own. Therefore, they must come from your diet. It is important that our diet consists of protein from a variety of sources so we have ample amounts of those building blocks. There is a misconception that we can only get complete protein from animal products. However, animal protein can be highly acidic and can increase the amount of stress on the body. There are plenty of protein rich plant sources we can use instead. This is especially important after a workout when it’s an advantage to eat something that is quick to digest and absorb, getting those building blocks to your muscles fast to start the healing and rebuilding process.
So for your next post workout meal, make sure to include some plant-based protein. It will help you regain your energy, speed up your recovery time, and improve your strength and endurance!
Try some of these healthy plant sources of protein in your next post workout meal.
1. Lentils: These are a great source of protein. Lentils are super easy to digest and are rich in protein and fiber. Try them in a salad, stew, or soup.
2. Spirulina: Spirulina is a superfood that’s really easy to add to anyone’s diet. It’s a rich source of protein and minerals that’s easy for your body to absorb. It comes in a powder that can be added to water, juice, or a smoothie.
4. Plant-Based Protein Powder: Protein powder from brown rice, hempseed, or pea is great to use because it can be added to so many things. Try some in a smoothie for a refreshing post workout beverage!
5. Tempeh: This is a great source of protein, easy to prepare and digest. Tempeh is fermented, so it has the added benefit of being rich in probiotics. Serve some up in a stir fry or as a burger.