This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Drastic changes to your eating or exercise routine don't always create lasting results. It's small changes made over time that can help you reach your goals. Each week, this column will help you take baby steps to good health by suggesting that you "do one thing."


Eat protein after exercise


Exercise activates the stress hormone cortisol, which gives you that extra boost you need to finish your workout, says exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist Stacy Sims. But cortisol actually inhibits muscle repair and alters your metabolism so you retain more calories. Eating protein within 30 minutes of exercising can change that.


Eat a hard-boiled egg, make a smoothie with low-fat milk, eat a cup of yogurt or a slice of cheese. Even a nonfat mocha latte can do the trick, said Sims, as the chocolate, when combined with the milk protein and caffeine, increases muscle energy.

Women's Health magazine