Eating right after a workout may seem counterintuitive to those trying to lose weight, but it can be critical to reducing the muscle soreness you feel for days to come. Nourishing your muscles with key nutrients can enhance recovery, allowing you to decrease the amount of time you have to take off between workouts, and giving you the freedom to work out hard without being held back by muscle soreness.
Most experts recommend eating recovery foods within an hour after a workout. But don’t just reach for anything you can find to munch on! Grab one of these four foods and you’ll be on your way to less pain and a quicker recovery.
Protein is critical to the body being able to build muscle and repair the normal wear and tear to muscle fibers during a hard workout. Eggs are a great source of protein without a ton of calories. The protein in eggs comes from a variety of amino acids, so eating a few eggs instead of meat after a workout is actually a more balanced approach to getting your muscles the protein they need. Hard boil a dozen eggs and you’ll have a great post-workout snack ready that can last you a whole week.
Antioxidants have been shown to reduce inflammation in muscles, one of the main culprits of muscle soreness, and blueberries are packed with antioxidants. The antioxidants in blueberries remove free radicals in your muscles after working out, which reduces inflammation and speeds recovery. If you drink protein shakes after you work out, throw some blueberries in. Or, freeze blueberries and enjoy them as a refreshing cold snack after a hard workout.
Salmon is a great source of lean protein with less fat than red meat or chicken, but its real recovery power comes with its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Like antioxidants, omega-3s reduce inflammation in muscles, but they also increase blood flow to muscles, giving them all the oxygen and water they need to help repair muscle fibers while recovering. Salmon is a little more difficult than most foods to take with you to have after a workout, but if you cook a few portions one night and plan ahead, it’s a great lunch or dinner to have after a hard workout.
- Tart cherries
Like blueberries, tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants that reduce inflammation and speed up recovery. And get this, some of the antioxidants in tart cherries actually block pain enzymes, just like painkillers do. Dried tart cherries and tart cherry juice are easier to find than raw tart cherries, and they’ll give you the same recovery benefits. Whichever way you choose to have tart cherries, pucker up! They call them tart cherries for a reason.
If you can consistently fit any of these foods into your post workout snacks or meals, you should begin to see a difference in the post-workout pain you feel and how quickly your muscles recover and feel ready to go for your next workout. It may take some planning ahead, but try it out and let us know in the comments how it works for you, and if you have any great recovery food recipes.
If you’re looking for a way to reduce muscle soreness and enhance recovery that is as easy as say, putting on a pair of socks, then we have another idea for you. Check out Run Forever Sports’ calf compression sleeves and compression socks. Our graduated compression technology increases blood flow to your muscles before, during, and after your workout to keep them oxygenated and hydrated so they can perform at their peak and repair and rebuild after a tough workout.