Post exercise nutrition has two primary goals:
- Recharge your body’s depleted energy sources
- Maximize your fitness gains by providing the raw materials your body needs to synthesize and contractile proteins that increase strength and the mitochondrial proteins that boost endurance
WHAT TO EAT:
All food is made up of three macronutrients, which are fat, protein and carbs. All three are very nutritionally important and vital to your fitness gains, recovery and progress.
Protein is needed after a session to repair the muscles and also for muscle growth. However, we also need carbohydrates because they stimulate insulin, which is needed to take up protein into the muscles. So without the carbohydrates we don’t take in that protein as efficiently. Carbs are NOT the enemy!
Fats carry fat-soluble nutrients that help your body absorb the necessary vitamins and minerals you’re getting from other foods. Fats also provide essential fatty acids and help you feel fuller, longer when combined with proteins and carbs.
WHEN TO EAT:
During the first half hour of exercise your body is processing nutrients to repair itself at a dramatically elevated rate. You should aim to have a post-workout snack within 45 minutes of finishing your workout. This is known as the anabolic window of opportunity, and the theory is that it is the optimal time for nutrients to be absorbed. After two hours this window is closed.
You should aim to consume 1g of carbs at 0.3g of protein per kg of body weight during the first hour or two after a typical resistance-training workout. A small amount of protein paired with the carbohydrates provides amino acids to help reduce inflammation as well as build and repair of muscle tissue.
Studies show that people who take in a small amount of protein after exercise are less likely to overeat several hours later.
Be cautious, if you’ve burned 300 calories, don’t refuel by taking in a 500 calorie dietary supplement.
Summary: Post workout refuel within 45 minutes of finishing the workout. Have an adequate intake of protein and carbs.
Hydration: Adequate fluid intake before, during and after exercise is important for health and optimal performance. Dehydration actually decreases exercise performance. In the hours after exercise, clients should aim for approximately 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound (0.5 kg) of body weight lost during exercise to replenish fluids.