Today, we are going to dig deep into the world of post-workout meals. Whether you work out or not, meals at night could be quite tricky to choose. You must choose a meal that keeps you full throughout the night. Moreover, the meal should also not be that filling which doesn’t let you sleep. Hence, understanding what to eat at night is a key part of a healthy lifestyle.
1. Debunking the Myths
Let’s start by first debunking the myths surrounding post-workout night meals.
First of all, there’s a myth going on for so long, don’t eat carbohydrates at night. It is a complete myth. There’s no scientific explanation for it. Apparently, according to the myth, if you eat carbs at night, you will get fat. Your metabolism slows down in your sleep, and carbs turn into fat.
But this is miles away from the truth. In reality, the carbs turn into glycogen, which gets stored in muscles. This provides energy. When you eat carbs, it helps your body repair damaged tissues and cells broken during the workout. So, one thing can be assured, you don’t get fat until you eat above your maintenance calories.
2. The “Night Training” Guide
When you have an intense workout in the gym, your muscle cells get broken down. There’s wear and tear of muscles. To keep muscle strength and repair it, it’s important to provide adequate nutrition to your body.
2.1 Advantages of Training in Evening/Night
When you train your muscles in the evening or at night, you feel energized. You have two to three meals within your system. This helps you to perform more efficiently. Your strength is at its peak. Moreover, at the day-end, you feel satisfied which helps in improved and better sleep quality at night.
2.2 What to Eat After a Workout at Night
Ask anyone who goes to a gym about what’s the hardest part. Most of them would reply “Nutrition”. Being such an integral part of exercise, it’s important to optimize it.
Generally, emphasis is laid on getting enough protein post-workout. And as we are working out at night, slow-digesting casein protein is recommended. Moreover, this post-workout meal would eventually be our dinner too. So, it’s also important to include some kind of complex carbs in our diet. Including a salad for essential vitamins and some kind of healthy ats is also recommended.
2.3 When to eat after a workout?
Sometimes, coaches advise to take some kind of protein within 30 minutes of working out. However, the muscle protein synthesis period is longer than we think. We have to consume an adequate protein source within 6-8 hours of working out.
It’s best for the most optimal muscle growth. But, if you work out with an empty stomach in the morning, then things might have to change a bit. You need to eat within 1 hour after working out as your body is deprived of any nutrients.
3. Foods to Eat After a Workout at Night
We have discussed the importance of working out at night. Let’s see the kind of food we can eat after a workout at night. We prefer slow-digesting food, which gets us through the night fast.
3.1 Protein Shake
A protein shake is the most convenient way to get slow-digesting protein. Prefer to use casein protein. A scoop of whey protein has about 25 grams of protein. This helps you consume an adequate amount of protein, even if you are not hungry.
3.2 Protein-Rich Poultry
Animal protein is a staple in many countries around the world. It’s because of its many benefits such as high protein content. They are also rich in vitamin B such as B-12. These protein sources include chicken breast, red meat, organ meat, and eggs.
It is also an important part of a diet. A variety of fishes are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These include salmon and tuna. They also help to reduce inflammation.
3.4 Slow-Digesting Carbohydrates
The carbohydrates that release glucose slowly in our muscles are optimal after workouts at night. They aid the best in muscle tissue rebuilding. The greatest of them all is oatmeal. It has the greatest quantity of melatonin in it. Other sources include fortified cereals and quinoa.
3.5 Late-Night Snacks
There’s a time when you feel hungry at night even after dinner. Probably the best snack nature has made for us is nuts. Almonds and peanuts are rich in protein. Also, seeds like flax and pumpkin also help curb hunger. Chickpeas are the best legume to consume at night.
3.6 Fruits and Veggies
Fruits are the dessert of nature. It is best to consume after a night’s workout because it provides replenishment to the body. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are the best low-calorie fruits out there. Also, veggies like broccoli and spinach provide much-needed magnesium to the body.
4. Final Words
To sum everything up, it’s important to eat a balanced diet above all. If you work out, if you provide adequate nutrition to your body, it won’t fail you. The right amount of carbohydrates and protein should be consumed post and pre-workout. Make sure not to starve your body after a workout at night. Starvation is not the answer to becoming healthy. Moderation is the key.