Tired of working out like crazy and not seeing results? Maybe exercise is not the problem, nutrition is actually 50-80% of the battle!
Let’s learn what our bodies need post workout… 
Carb & Protein mix is essential! No fats, Why??

Exercise breaks down our muscle carbohydrate stores and our muscle protein structures. Then, the immune system comes in to clean up the mess. And finally, signals are generated to tell the body to rebuild. So we need to replenish these sources with proper protein and carbohydrate foods or else you’ll be left with muscles that never reach their potential.

Carbohydrates
As all types of exercise use carbohydrates for energy, muscle carbohydrate depletion is inevitable. Therefore a post-workout meal high in carbohydrates is required to refill muscle carbohydrate/energy stores. The idea is to promote a substantial
insulin release. Insulin is the hormone responsible for shuttling carbohydrates and amino acids into the muscle. In doing this, carbohydrate resynthesis is accelerated and protein balance becomes positive, leading to rapid repair of the muscle tissue. Therefore, by consuming a large amount of carbohydrates, you will promote a large insulin release, increase glycogen storage, and increase protein repair. Research has shown that a carbohydrate intake of 0.8 to 1.2 grams per 1 kilogram of body weight maximizes glycogen synthesis and accelerates protein repair. However, unless you’ve had a very long, intense workout, 1.2g/kg may be a bit excessive as excess carbohydrate can be converted to bodyfat, so shoot for .8.

Protein
In addition, since muscle protein is degraded during exercise, the addition of a relatively large amount of protein to your post exercise meal is necessary to help rebuild the structural aspects of the muscle. After exercise, the body decreases its rate of protein synthesis and increases its rate of protein breakdown. However, the provision of protein and amino acid solutions has been shown to reverse this trend, increasing protein synthesis and decreasing protein breakdown.

Researchers have used anywhere from 0.2g – 0.4g of protein per 1 kilogram of body weight to demonstrate the effectiveness of adding protein to a post-workout carbohydrate drink (van Loon et al 2000b, Roy et al 1998). More importantly, proteins with all 9 essential amino acids such as quinoa.

Fat
Your meal should be fat free. The consumption of essential fats is one of the most overlooked areas of daily nutritional intake but during the post workout period, eating fat can actually decrease the effectiveness of your post-workout beverage. Since fat slows down transit through the stomach, eating fat during the post workout period may slow the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and proteins. As your post workout feeding should be designed to promote the most rapid delivery of carbohydrates and protein to your depleted muscles, fats should be avoided during this time.

Time
Timing is everything.. Crucial that you consume your post-workout meal immediately after exercise. After exercise, the muscles are biochemically “primed” for nutrient uptake. By failing to eat immediately after exercise, you diminish your chances of promoting full recovery. Consuming a post-exercise meal immediately after working out is superior to consuming one only 1 hour later. In addition, consuming one 1 hour later is superior to consuming one 3 hours later (Tipton et al 2001, Levenhagen et al 2001). If you wait too long, glycogen replenishment and protein repair will be compromised.

Raw Foods
Raw foods are loaded with enzymes. With the aid of enzymes, products are formed faster and reactions reach their equilibrium state more rapidly. Enzymes such as amylases and proteases break down large molecules (starch or proteins, respectively) into smaller ones, so they can be absorbed by the intestines.

In conclusion, shoot for raw foods that are high in protein to reap the full benefits!  

Suggested foods

  • Hummus & Whole Grain Pita– Made from chick-peas, hummus is an excellent source of both protein and carbs. Combine with a whole-grain pita for a complete post-workout punch.
  • Cereal & Almond Milk- Cereals have really evolved since the early days of Lucky Charms and Cap’n Crunch. In fact, today’s run-of-the-mill whole-grain cereal with milk may even be as good as a sports drink for recovery after exercise. Whole-grain cereals are now loaded with protein, carbs and other important vitamins and minerals, almond milk contains a high number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, iron, fiber, zinc and calcium. Almond milk is low in calories, at only 40 calories per eight ounce serving, and low in fat. It contains only three grams of fat per eight ounce serving. Almond milk is lactose, gluten, casein and cholesterol free; it’s also free of saturated fats.
  • Fruit & Veggie Smoothie Liquid meals are easily digested, quickly absorbed and, most of all, convenient. To get the most out of your smoothie, blend together kale, wheatgrass, spirulina (superfood, raw protein contents), honey, almond or soy milk, a few high-GI fruits (like mangos and melons), apples and some bananas for their plentiful potassium. The result will satisfy even the most demanding muscles.
  • Tuna and whole wheat crackers– If you would prefer some meat, tuna is low in fat but packed with protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. On the flip side, crackers are a crunchy source of energizing carbs. If you can, skip the mayo and opt for some fresh lemon juice, olive oil and a little mustard instead.
Sources: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/berardi4.htm
http://www.goraw.com/