Post Workout Nutrition
What to Eat After a Workout
You put a lot of effort into your workouts, always looking to perform better and reach your goals.
Chances are you've given more thought to your pre-workout meal than your post-workout meal.
But consuming the right nutrients after you exercise is just as important as what you eat before.
Here is a detailed guide to optimal nutrition after workouts.
Eating after a workout is important
To understand how the right foods can help you after exercise, it's important to understand how your body is affected by physical activity. When you're working out, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel. This results in your muscles being partially depleted of glycogen. Some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down and damaged. After your workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow those muscle proteins. Eating the right nutrients soon after you exercise can help your body get this done faster. It is particularly important to eat carbs and protein after your workout.
Doing this helps your body:
• Decrease muscle protein breakdown.
• Increase muscle protein synthesis (growth).
• Restore glycogen stores.
• Enhance recovery.
Getting in the right nutrients after exercise can help you rebuild your
muscle proteins and glycogen stores. It also helps stimulate growth
of new muscle.
Protein, Carbs & Fat
This section discusses how each macronutrient —protein , carbs & fat— is involved in your body's post-workout recovery process. Protein Helps Repair and Build Muscle As explained above, exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein. The rate at which this happens depends on the exercise and your
level of training, but even well-trained athletes experience muscle protein breakdown. Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also gives you the building blocks required to build new muscle tissue.
It's recommended that you consume 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.3–0.5 grams/kg) very soon after a workout . Studies have shown that ingesting 20–40 grams of protein seems to maximize the body's ability to recover after exercise . However, conducer the ratio before the amount of grams. Don’t fall into the trap of stuffing yourself just to make grams. Stop eating when you are sated. It’s important to listen to your body.
Carbs Help With Recovery
This section discusses how each macronutrient - Protein, carbs & fat— is involved in your body's post-workout recovery process. Protein Helps Repair and Build Muscle As explained above, exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein. The rate at which this happens depends on the exercise and your level of training, but even well-trained athletes experience muscle protein breakdown . Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also gives you the building blocks required to build new muscle tissue. it's recommended that you consume 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.3–0.5 grams/kg) very soon after a workout.
Studies have shown that ingesting 20–40 grams of protein seems to maximize the body's ability to recover after exercise. The grams are a recommendation, not a mandate. Ratio is actually more important. (3:1- carbs to protein )
Fat Is Not That Bad
Many people think that eating fat after a workout slows down digestion and inhibits the absorption of nutrients. While fat might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal,it will not reduce its benefits. For example, a study showed that whole milk was more effective at promoting muscle growth after a workout than skim milk. Moreover, another study showed that even when ingesting a high-fat
meal (45% energy from fat) after working out, muscle glycogensynthesis was not affected. It might be a good idea to limit the amount of fat you eat after exercise, but having some fat in your post-workout meal will not affect your recovery. The only fats you should be consuming are recognizable digestible
by the body. Virgin olive oil, cold expeller expressed avocado oil, butter, eggs, avocados are the only clean fats to consider; all others are too refined to properly metabolize in the liver.
A post-workout meal with both protein and carbs will enhance
glycogen storage and muscle protein synthesis. Consuming a ratio of
3:1 (carbs to protein) is a practical way to achieve this.
The Timing of Your Post-Workout Meal Matters
Your body's ability to rebuild glycogen and protein is enhanced after you exercise. For this reason, it's recommended that you consume a combination of carbs and protein as soon as possible after exercising. Although the timing does not need to be exact, many experts recommend eating your post workout meal within 45-60 minutes. In fact, it's believed that the delay of carb consumption by as little as
two hours after a workout may lead to as much as 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis. However, if you consumed a meal before exercising, it's likely that the benefits from that meal still apply after training.
Eat your post-workout meal within 45-60 minutes of exercising. However, you can extend this
period a little longer, depending on what you've had to eat in your pre workout meal.
Foods to Eat After You Workout
The primary goal of your post-workout meal is to supply your body with the right nutrients for adequate
recovery and to maximize the benefits of your workout. Choosing easily digested foods will promote faster nutrient absorption.
The following lists contain examples of simple and easily digested foods:
• Sweet potatoes
• Fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi)
• Rice cakes (organic, no artificial flavors )
• Rice ( organic)
• Pasta ( gluten free EG: lentil pasta)
• Dark, leafy green vegetables
• Greek yogurt
• Cottage cheese
• Protein bar ( organic, gluten free)
• Nut butters
• Trail mix (dried fruits and nuts)
Sample Post-Workout Meals
Combinations of the foods listed above can create great meals that provide you
with all the nutrients you need after exercise.
Here are a few examples of quick and easy meals to eat after your workout:
• Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables.
• Egg omelet with avocado spread on toast.
• Salmon with sweet potato.
• Tuna salad sandwich on sprout grain or gluten free bread.
• Tuna and crackers.(gluten free)
• Oatmeal, banana and almonds.
• Cottage cheese and fruits.
• Pita and hummus.
• Rice crackers and peanut butter.
• Whole grain toast and almond butter.
• Cereal (gluten free) and almond milk.
• Greek yogurt, berries and granola.
• Almond milk, yogurt, spinach, strawberry and banana Shake.
• Quinoa bowl with berries and pecans.
• Gluten free bread and raw nuts.
Make Sure to Drink Plenty of Water
It is important to drink plenty of water before and after your workout. When you are properly hydrated, this ensures the optimal internal environment for your body to maximize results.
During exercise, you lose water and electrolytes through sweat. Replenishing these after a workout can help with recovery and performance. It's especially important to replenish fluids if your next exercise session is within 12 hours. Depending on the intensity of your workout, water or infused water are recommended to replenish fluid losses. Electrolyte drinks have too many added chemicals that actually cause metabolic issues with the liver over time. A strenuous workout does not constitute drinking these. If you want to change it up, use lemon, mint, ginger,cucumbers,strawberries to infuse water. your benefit will be much greater than consuming a drink full of chemicals for a quick “feel good”.
It is important to get water and hydrate after exercise to replace what was lost during your workout.
Putting It All Together
Consuming a proper amount of carbs and protein after exercise is essential.
It will stimulate muscle protein synthesis, improve recovery and enhance performance during your next
workout. If you're not able to eat within 45-60 minutes of working out, it's important to not go much longer than 2 hours before eating a meal. Replenishing lost water can complete the picture and help you maximize the benefits of your workout. Finally, it’s important overall to remember that you should keep your intake simple and clean. The less artificial, the better. Stop eating when sated, it’s not necessary to cram more food just to reach a certain number of grams, carbs or protein. your body will tell you what it needs.
About the author:
Jana Parrelli is the Life and Health Coach at Terra Blanca Wellness Spa, LLP. Having more than 15 years in the health care and 16 years in the financial fields, Jana brings a wealth of experience to her clients, enabling them to benefit from cleaner, healthier lifestyles.