Everyone knows the workout fueling rule, right? You’ve got to fuel the car before and after a road trip… and your body is the same! Keep it optimally fueled and your engines will rev the way you want them to.
Key here is proper fueling both before and after your workout with “fast” and quality proteins and carbs. Before a workout, that little cheese stick and apple slice snack will provide the fuel needed to really get after it in the gym. Following the workout, that snack will help your recover, especially when you get it into your body ASAP!
That’s what Holly Perkins, CSCS, author of Lift to Get Lean and creator of the Women’s Strength Nation, advises her clients. Eat immediately after your training session is complete. This is even more important based on how intense or how long your workout was.
For instance, if you CrossFit for the 27-or-so minutes, that’s a really short but very intense workout. “It’s critical to get fuel in ASAP,” said Perkins. Likewise, this applies if you’re doing a ten-mile run — low on intensity but high on time.
She explains that “all foods can be measured based on how fast they are digested (or assimilated) within the body.” So which snack should you choose?
Perkins outlined the best protein sources based on how fast they digest and break down, giving your body the good stuff, sooner.
Fastest Proteins for Post-Workout Recovery
- Whey Protein Powder
- Egg White Powder
- Egg Whites
- Dairy: Skim milk, yogurt, cottage cheese
- Light Meat: chicken and turkey
- Dark Meat: chicken and turkey
- Red meat: buffalo, bison, lamb
Her number one recommendation, which happens to be the fastest protein, is whey protein powder. Take this via shake or bar, but either way, it’s the protein source that’s going to deliver that recovery refuel the most efficiently. Not a big eater around workouts? She says you can totally have half a bar before or after, or do the same with a shake.
Be careful with dairy. Straight cheese isn’t her her favorite option, as it has fats. When choosing milk, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese, you want less than 4% (or skim) fat.
Really want to treat yourself? She has “love, love, love” for chocolate milk and thinks it’s a “fantastic” recovery snack.