Updated: July 25, 2013

This week I've been blogging about ideal pre and post-exercise meals and lo and behold the topic was buzzing today after a news piece about how San Francisco Giants Tim Lincecum regularly orders three double-doubles, two fries, and a chocolate-strawberry shake from In-N-Out Burger – a 3,150 calorie meal.

As I posted Tuesday even if you're not trying to lose weight or you think you can "afford" to eat whatever you want because you'll burn it off loading up on artery clogging foods can hinder your performance and up your injury risk.

Post game it's the same story. I work with a lot of athletes who torch thousands of calories during a game or match and are so hungry afterward they can easily devour a large pizza with extra pepperoni or a mondo steak cooked in butter with a loaded baked potato. But the #1 priority of a post-exercise meal should be healing.

As I pointed out in Tuesday's post heavy, greasy meals can interfere with circulation. And that can impede healing because nutrients can't get to your muscles to repair them. And it's a double whammy because a junky meal lacks the nutrients needed for recovery.

Ideally a post-exercise meal should include:

  • Lean, easy to digest protein to deliver amino acids to muscles quickly, to heal them and reduce injury risk.
  • Veggies &/or fruits to put back the vitamins your body used up and optimize muscle repair.
  • "Good" carbs to re-stock muscle carbohydrate.
  • Plant-based fats to repair muscles and joints and reduce inflammation.

A few easy examples include:

Veggies sautéed in extra virgin olive oil with garlic and basil tossed with whole grain pasta and a lean protein like shrimp, chicken or tofu.

Salad greens tossed with pico de gallo topped with roasted corn (a whole grain), guacamole and a lean protein.

Stir fried veggies over brown or wild rice topped with lean protein and garnished with sliced almonds or chopped cashews.

By thinking beyond calories in, calories out and making healing a priority you'll stay stronger and leaner and maintain a higher metabolism, which means you can afford to splurge here and there without hindering your performance or seeing it in your physique!

So what do you reach for after a tough workout? Please share your thoughts!



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