Cardio is no doubt one of the best exercises out there to burn fat while keeping your health in optimal condition. And right after the proficuous sweating as the result of the cardio, feeling hungry is natural. But that does not give you the liberty to munch on unhealthy snacks, but it requires you to eat healthy foods that can maintain your calorie count and maximize muscle build. Wondering what to eat after cardio? Follow this article to get the answer.
What is cardio?
Cardiovascular workouts are unique as they increase the endurance of the body’s muscles by making the body undergo aerobic exercises and these exercises are good for heart health. The core principle behind these workouts is to work out till your heart rate increases to a level where it supplies a ton of oxygen to the muscles.
What happens to our body during the cardio session?
Cardio is all about increasing your heart rate to get the health benefits. During cardio workouts like running, jogging, or elliptical workouts, the muscles of the body require more oxygen. To provide them with sufficient oxygen, increasing heart rate works its magic. This raised heart rate pumps blood with more speed throughout the body, eventually supplying oxygen to the muscles in a massive amount.
Why is it mandatory to eat after cardio?
The cardio workouts are usually followed to burn the extra calories and to maintain the heart’s health. However, these workouts alone cannot do the trick and need to be paired with proper dietary options. That’s why it’s necessary to eat something healthy before and after a cardio workout to gain or restore energy. A few potential studies made in this regard have also pointed out the crucial role of post-cardio workout eating in muscle rebuilding.
During the workouts, the glycogen stored in our body’s muscles gets used to provide the energy to the muscles for a proper workout. So, it’s necessary to replenish that lost glycogen back to the muscles and healthy food options rich in carbs and proteins can do the job. Some myths do surround the concept that eating post-workout will zero the effects of the workout but that’s not true. It can only happen if your food choices are not in alignment with your health benefits.
What to eat after cardio?
Refueling your body with the essential nutrients is a necessary choice you have to make. Based on the intensity of the cardio workout, you can refuel yourself to compensate for the loss. The most important and first thing to do after a cardio workout is to drink water. During cardio, your body loses a lot of water and electrolytes, that’s why it’s better to first fill yourself with water and then move on to the fulfilling food options. These foods should be a combination of proteins and carbs, majorly. Other macro and micronutrient-rich foods can also be added, based on the body’s requirement. Let’s take a look at the few best food options that can be consumed after a cardio workout.
1. Greek yogurt
It can be consumed to cover the loss of both proteins and carbs. The carbs in greek yogurt make sure to reproduce the lost glycogen by using the body’s glucose. Other than this, Greek yogurt is also an excellent source of proteins and also helps in controlling the episodes of depression.
2. Protein shakes or lean meat
To refuel your body with the desired protein amount, it’s necessary to add food items full of protein content. Proteins are essential for the muscle’s growth and repair, and that’s how eating lean meat or drinking protein shakes after a workout will increase muscle build as well.
3. Fresh fruits
The sweating during a cardio workout makes you lose the body’s fluid and a considerable amount of minerals as well. Watery fruits are the best choice to fight the dehydration experienced after a workout. These fruits should be consumed as whole fruit, as they provide necessary dietary fiber and minerals like potassium, important for the survival of the human body.
4. Other food options
Not only proteins, carbs, and fluids, but other micro or macronutrients are also required for the body’s proper functioning after a workout. To regain energy to perform another workout, foods like berries, bananas, milk, egg, fish, poultry, and nuts can also be consumed.
Cardio alone will be useless if you’ll not take care of the post-workout nutrition. That’s why it’s imperative that you keep yourself updated about the food choices you can have after a certain cardio workout. The intensity of the cardio workout is the major factor that decides what food to have and what to not. The only thing to keep in mind is that your body needs all the essential nutrients and after cardio, it’s your job to make sure it gets all.
I look up to fitness as a lifestyle and love to pen down about it. I have 2 years of experience in content writing and I am here to share my research and knowledge on health and fitness.