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The 3 Best Workout Recovery Tips From a Sports Nutrition Consultant

February 9, 2023

While New Year’s resolutions aren’t meant for everyone, some may find success in revamping their routine and creating a healthier lifestyle for themselves in the new year—including a regular workout regimen. If you find yourself now working out regularly, you may be thinking about the best workout recovery tips to fuel your body well. What types of foods should you eat? Can certain foods benefit your workout recovery?

Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, a sports nutrition consultant and author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook, confirms that a successful workout recovery means fueling with the right foods at the right times.

“To maximize your fitness, it is essential that you refuel after a workout,” says Goodson. “The goal is to eat a snack within the 45 minutes after exercise, then eat another snack or meal within the next hour or two. “

So what kinds of foods should you snack on or cook with your meals? To get you started, here are Goodson’s top three workout recovery tips for fueling your new exercise regimen.

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1. Replenish with carbohydrates.

“To replace the energy burned during exercise, consume carbohydrates in your post-workout snack,” says Goodson. “During this timeframe, opt for simple carbohydrates that can break down quickly and jumpstart your recovery, like a nutrient-rich fruit smoothie or ready-to-drink shake. Later, prepare a full, well-rounded meal of complex carbs, lean protein, veggies, and fluids.

Make it simple to replenish with these 5 Best Premade Smoothies for Easy On-The-Go Snacks!

2. Rebuild with beef.

Protein is essential post-workout to help repair and rebuild muscle,” she says. “In fact, research shows that exercise is more effective when paired with diets higher in protein.”

One of her top recommendations for refueling the body with protein is by cooking up a portion of beef. “Beef is a protein powerhouse,” she explains. “A 3-ounce serving of lean beef is rich in nutrients like iron, zinc, selenium, and essential amino acids that help with recovery.

3. Rehydrate and repeat.

“It is important to rehydrate after a workout to help replace the fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat,” says Goodson. “Dehydration can contribute to fatigue and other negative consequences, so grab a water bottle and keep hydrating during the hours after exercise. If you are a heavy sweater, consider adding electrolytes like sodium and potassium to your rehydration routine.”

According to The National Academy of Medicine, men should drink around 13 cups of fluids a day, and women around 9 cups a day. “Fluids” does include water, as well as other hydrating drinks that Goodson recommends like smoothies, sports drinks, and milk.

Read next: Eating This Nut Every Day Can Boost Exercise Recovery, New Study Suggests

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