Fitness workouts!!! We always look to perform better and reach our goals in it. Consuming the right nutrients after our exercise is just as important as what we eat before. So, we put a lot of effort into our fitness workouts.
Here is a simple guide of optimal nutrition after workouts.
It’s important to eat after a fitness workouts
Above all, eating after fitness workouts exercises are important as well. Our muscles need the raw materials to recuperate after a heavy workout, such as carbs, protein, and electrolytes including potassium and sodium. So, a light meal or snack within 2 (two) hours after exercises is perfect.
Therefore, try a balance bar or a lean turkey sandwich on 100% whole grain bread. Also, chocolate milk has the best proportions of carbohydrates, protein, and fats for recovering after fitness workouts.
When we’re working out, our muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel. This results in our muscles being partially depleted of glycogen. Some of the proteins in our muscles also get broken down and damaged.
In addition, it is very important to eat carbs and protein after our fitness workouts. Eating the right nutrients after exercises can help our body to get done faster.
In other words, this helps our body to decrease muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle protein synthesis (growth). Also, restore glycogen stores and to enhance recovery.
Protein, Carbs and Fat
In this section we will see how protein, carbs and fat are involved in our body’s post-workout recovery process.
Protein help us to repair and to increase muscle
Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives our body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also gives us the building blocks required to build new muscle tissue.
It’s recommended that we will consume 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of our body weight (0.3–0.5 grams/kg) very soon after a workout. So, have shown that ingesting 20–40 grams of protein seems to maximize the body’s ability to recover after exercise.
Carbs help with recovery
Our body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise and consuming carbs after our workout helps replenish them. The rate at which our glycogen stores are used depends on the activity. For example, endurance sports cause our body to use more glycogen than resistance training.
If we participate in endurance sports like running, swimming, etc., we might need to consume more carbs than a bodybuilder.
Consuming 0.5–0.7 grams of carbs per pound (1.1–1.5 grams/kg) of body weight within 30 minutes after training results in proper glycogen resynthesize.
Furthermore, insulin secretion, which promotes glycogen synthesis, is better stimulated when carbs and protein are consumed at the same time. Therefore, consuming both carbs and protein after exercise can maximize protein and glycogen synthesis.
Eating plenty of carbs to rebuild glycogen stores is most important for everyone who exercises often, such as twice in the same day. If we have 1 or 2 days to rest between fitness workouts then this becomes less important.
Fat are good
Many people think that eating fat after fitness workouts slows down digestion and inhibits the absorption of nutrients. While fat might slow down the absorption of our post-workout meal, it will not reduce its benefits.
For example, whole milk was more effective to promote 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 glycogen synthesis was not affected.
It might be a good idea to have some fat in our post-workout meal will not affect our recovery.
The ability of our body is to rebuild glycogen and protein is enhanced after we do fitness workouts. For this reason, it’s recommended that we will consume a combination of carbs and protein as soon as possible after exercising. So, it’s recommended to eat our post-workout meal within 45 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 we consume a meal before fitness workouts, it’s likely that the benefits from that meal still apply after training.
Some ideas for post-workout meal
Preparing our post-workout food is also part of the fun of maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle. It’s especially important that after a workout to consume the right amount of carbohydrates and protein. This is the most important factor in our post-workout meal.
So, the most important part of eating right is planning and preparing our meals. Our body will appreciate a meal ready to go when the fitness workouts are done. Essential nutrients are required after hard fitness workouts with carbohydrates and protein being the main focus. Also, drinking plenty of water and sometimes a sports recovery drink is also necessary for fluid replenishment.
In other words, the intensity of the workout can help determine the ratio of carbohydrate to protein in our post-workout meal. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends an endurance athlete consume a 300-400 calorie snack with a 3-to-1 carbohydrate to protein ratio within an hour of exercise completion.
Low to medium intensity workouts are advised to follow a 2-to-1 carbohydrate to protein ratio consumed within an hour and no longer than two hours after exercise completion.
Sports nutrition recommends drinking 2-3 cups of water for each pound of body weight lost during fitness workouts. Active adults typically don’t weigh in after a workout, so a good rule to follow is drinking plenty of fluids during and after physical activity to avoid dehydration. Drinking when you are thirsty and not more than 800 ml per hour is now the preferred guideline.
Foods to eat after our fitness workouts
Choosing easily digested foods for our self will promote faster nutrient absorption. The primary goal of our post-workout meal is to supply our body with the right nutrients. This is for adequate recovery and to maximize the benefits of our fitness workouts.
Include, Potatoes (sweet or not one), Chocolate milk, Fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi), Rice cakes, Pasta etc.
Include, Animal or plant-based protein powder, Eggs, Greek yogurt, Salmon, Chicken, Tuna etc.
Include, Nuts, Avocado, Nuts butters and dried fruits and nuts.
Make Sure to Drink Plenty of Water
When we are properly dehydrated, it is important to drink plenty of water before and after our fitness workouts. This ensures the optimal internal environment for our body to maximize results.
During exercise, we lose water and electrolytes through sweat. Replenishing these after a workout can help with recovery and performance.
Depending on the intensity of our fitness workouts, water or an electrolyte is recommended to replenish fluid losses.
In conclusion of fitness workouts,
Consuming a proper amount of carbs and protein after exercise is essential. It will stimulate muscle protein synthesis, to improve recovery and enhance performance during our fitness workouts.
If we’re not able for the moment to eat within 45 minutes of our working out. It’s important to not go much longer than 2 hours before eating a meal.
Finally, replenishing lost water and electrolytes can complete the picture and help will help us to maximize the benefits of our fitness workouts.
So, having a proper nutritional strategy in place will create the success of our food plan pre and post fitness workouts.