Post-workout nutrition is critical to a healthy you. Without it, your body doesn't have the tools necessary to repair itself. Effective workout recovery relies on you eating the right foods at the right time, though. If you are rocking the keto plan, what is the strategy for post-workout nutrition?
|Table of Contents:|
|1. Workout Recovery||2. The Right Foods||3. Timing|
|4. Pre-Workout||5. Post-Workout|
Keto and Exercise Recovery
It’s a complicated question because there is a misconception that the ketogenic diet can impair proper workout recovery. Carbohydrates are a staple for recovery because they provide the energy that refills glycogen stores, so what about keto?
A 2016 study published in Metabolism shows that the body will adapt to low-carb diets by using fat for energy instead. The keto diet focuses on two primary macronutrients needed for a healthy recovery: protein and fat. Turns out that workout recovery and keto are a natural fit.
What is Workout Recovery?
When you exercise, whether you hit the treadmill or the free weights, you stress your body. That’s actually the purpose of a workout. Exercise creates tiny micro-tears in muscle tissue that promote change.
All life has a built-in drive to survive and adaptability is part of that mechanism. When you stress your muscles and damage them, your body looks to find a way to ensure that won’t happen again. It pulls in new cells to build the muscle tissue bigger and stronger.
It’s that adaptation that requires you to periodically change your workout routines to make them harder. For example, if you do a bicep curl with a 5-lb weight, it stresses the muscle and causes tiny tears. Your body continues to build that muscle up until 5-lbs no longer damages it. At the point, if you want bigger arms, you have to start lifting 10-lbs at a time.
Workout recovery occurs between exercise sessions when your body replenishes it’s glycogen stores and repairs muscle. All that takes rebuilding takes proper nutrition.
What are the Right Foods?
Following a keto diet provides one of the most essential components for muscle recovery — protein. Lean protein if full of amino acids which are the building blocks of life and especially muscle tissue. Fat also helps make the muscles stronger and maintain muscle mass.
Eating the Right Foods at the Right Time
Timing is everything in workout recovery but nutrition starts before you exercise for keto athletes. Increase your protein intake throughout the day. When carbs are low, the body will use excess protein for glucose. You’ll also want fat consumption to be about 70 percent of your calorie intake.
Before your workout, eat up to 40 grams of protein in smoothies or other snacks. After exercise, eat 20 to 40 grams of protein every four to six hours to trigger muscle synthesis. An after-workout meal might look like this:
- Three to four ounces of protein like steak or salmon.
- Up to 30 grams of fat such as nut butter.
- A plateful of nonstarchy veggies like broccoli or greens
This is a winning combination for a post-workout, keto-friendly meal. When combined with high-fat and protein snacks, you give your body what it needs to heal.
Best Keto Snacks for Your Workout
Before and after your workout, fit in some healthy keto snacks.
For keto dieters, what you eat before is just as important as what you eat after you exercise. Consider some tasty pre-workout snacks:
- Nuts - Nuts are powerhouse foods full of both protein and healthy fat. A small handful is enough to boost your energy levels and get you moving.
- Nut butter - Nut butter provides fat-based energy to fuel a workout. It’s a good choice for cardio exercise when you need a little extra punch. Spread the butter over celery for some crunch.
- One or two hard-boiled eggs - One egg contains 6.3 grams of protein and 5.3 grams of fat, depending on the size of the egg.
- Ham and Cream Cheese Roll-Up - If you are a sandwich lover, you have to get creative when following a keto diet. Take a couple of thinly sliced pieces of ham, spread cream cheese over them and roll them up for a high protein and fat snack good for strength training.
After workout snacks should focus on providing your body with the nutrition it needs for muscle repair.
The Mini Egg Muffin
Bake these up during the day, so you can pop one in the microwave after your cardio workout.
- Beat your eggs in a bowl with salt and pepper (as many as you want)
- Distribute your beaten egg mixture into muffin cups
- Add your choice of ingredients like spinach, good for iron, or cheese
- Bake the egg muffins for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
One egg muffin has 90 calories, six grams of protein and five grams of fat.
Veggie Sticks with Nut Butter
Nut butter makes another appearance as a post-workout snack. This time dip raw veggies in it or steam them and drizzle the nut butter over the top for extra nutritional value and flavor.
Mix two keto favorites for heart-healthy fats and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Simply dice up a few hard-boiled eggs and mix them in thoroughly mashed avocado. The avocado should have a mayonnaise-like consistency so use a blender or food processor if necessary.
Use the egg salad as a dip for crunchy vegetables or spread it on kale or lettuce to make a wrap.
A good choice for immediately after a cardio workout or for extra protein later in the day. If you buy your bone broth, make sure it is keto-friendly with no added sweeteners.
The Classic Keto Smoothie (or protein shakes)
The nice thing about smoothies is variety. Use coconut, avocado or nut butter as a base. Don’t be afraid to add in some low-carb fruits to the smoothie for extra essential vitamins and nutrients. For example:
You can also go with vegetables for a more hearty recipe such as:
Mix and match your smoothies so you have a light snack every few hours after your workout. Adding in a low net carb protein powder can also be an added bonus and another way to augment flavoring of your shake/smoothie. The extra protein will help you build muscle after your workout. Protein bars are also an option, just watch for the net carbs and extra sugars.
Roast Beef Cheese Combo Snack
As with the pre-workout ham rollup, just load the meat up with your favorite cheeses and roll it. You might consider a dipping sauce after a workout, too, or put the meat on keto bread.
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle but make sure you fuel your recovery with the right pre and post-workout foods.
Author: Darla Ferrara
|Darla Ferrara is a guest writer for SuperFat and is a full-time medical writer with a background in nutrition for disease prevention and healthcare.|
Hungry for more?
Read Our Beginner's Guide to Keto, or try our delicious keto-friendly nut butters.