You walked or ran your legs off, biked until you dropped, lifted your body weight at the gym, and swam a distance equivalent to circling the globe. Now it is time to refuel.
It may seem counterintuitive to eat and drink after working hard to tone your body and burn calories, but a workout takes its toll on your muscles and other body systems. The key to responsible refueling is to make smart selections that provide the necessary recovery without packing on excess calories that cancel out your effort.
Most experts agree that protein plays a key role in helping repair and build muscle, regardless of whether it comes from a shake, a glass of milk, or an energy bar. Choose foods with low to moderate sugar content and aim for 10-20 grams of protein for your post-workout snack.
Exercise may work up an appetite, but a snack that promotes satiety without making you feel over-full is an effective way to nix the temptation to overeat later in the day. Reach for a snack that combines protein and carbs, such as a handful of nuts and string cheese, hummus and veggies, or a container of nonfat Greek yogurt. Rehydrate with a refreshing food that has high water content, such as watermelon. At 92 percent water, watermelon is an ideal workout buddy for rehydrating, refueling, and recovering.