This question is regularly asked by beginners. In most cases they think, they must not eat anything after an ab workout as it will spoil the results.
This is a big misconception!
When you do any sort of intensive training, your body uses various nutrients. These are the ammunition for your body. Hence, proper post-exercise nutrition is vital.
After completing your abdominal routine, you should refill your body. If you do not eat and drink after workouts, your body switches into a “saving” state, and it will store, for example, fat. That is not what we want, so eating the right types of things after your training is crucial.
There are three kinds of nutrients you should consume: protein, carbohydrates, and water to refill your body.
The first is to drink water during and after your abs workout. If you do really intensive training, you lose a lot of water with sweating. This may cause dehydration.
Drinking mineral water is the best. I know, there are so many sports drinks and others, but most of them contain artificial components. If you do not like drinking pure water flavor it with some lemon or orange juice. Alternatively, you can also make your own homemade juice.
Take in Carbohydrates
This nutrition gives energy to muscles even after finishing the abdominal exercises. There are complex and simple carbohydrates. Simple ones boost the sugar level of your body fast while complex ones provide energy for the long term.
The healthiest foods to take in simple carbohydrates are fruits as they contain fructose. Eat bananas, apples, berries, pineapples, dried fruits, and kiwi after your workouts.
Good sources of complex carbohydrates are sweet potatoes, hummus, whole grains, cereal, pasta, brown rice, and again fruits.
While you do an intense workout, the fibers of the muscles are broken down. Muscles are built up from amino acids, and this sort of nutrient is needed to rebuild muscles again. So, we should take in protein which will be broken down into amino acids which will be used for muscle rebuilding.
Great protein sources are fish such as salmon, poultry like turkey or chicken breast, eggs, milk products, and nuts. Eat meats that are lean to decrease the fat intake. I think fish and poultry are the best foods after training. Alternatively, you can also drink a protein shake after your workout. Personally, I have protein powder after my workouts since it is a quick way to get the required protein intake.
Should post-workout meals contain healthy fats?
In order to better absorb fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, E, and K from food, a post-workout meal should contain moderate amounts of mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Prepare a salad with an olive oil-based vinaigrette or cook your vegetables in olive oil. Simply eat a handful of nuts or a handful of fish like salmon or tuna. You should stay away from butter, lard, full-fat dairy products, and processed foods that contain trans fats.
Is it better to eat before or after my workout?
From the post above you, see that eating after workouts is very important. Eating before workouts is also vital. As I said, muscles need energy. How can you make an intensive workout if your body does not have fuel? Therefore, eat some light foods before your workout, but do not stuff yourself. Take in complex carbohydrates, protein, and water. If you eat too much, your body will concentrate on digesting, so you will not have the energy for the exercises.
How much time should I wait to eat after workouts?
Taking in protein will allow you to rebuild your muscles, and carbs will replenish your glycogen, or energy store, in your muscles. It is ideal to eat within 15 to 30 minutes after working out, but if this cannot happen, aim for within 60 minutes.