You finish a heart pumping sweat-sesh workout. You head to the kitchen for a post-workout snack or meal. Do you know what you should be reaching for in the fridge or pantry to help your body recover? To help you optimize your nutrition after workouts, here is a detailed guide we’ve been following from Healthline.
Why is it important to eat after a workout? While we are working out, our body first burns through the nutrients we ate before our workout. Then it moves onto the stored glycogen (the storage form of glucose or sugar) and begins to burn it as energy, while some of the proteins in your muscles can also be broken down and damaged.
After a workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair those muscle fibers. Eating the right nutrients shortly after exercise can help your body do this faster. It’s especially important to eat carbs and protein after your workout.
The importance of nutrients after a workout
Protein, carbohydrates and fat are known as macronutrients, and are important for the recovery process. That’s why it’s important to have the right mix.
Carbs are your main source of energy and help with recovery. They’re easy to breakdown and absorb by the body. According to Healthline, consuming 0.5 to 0.7 grams per kilogram of body weight maximizes glycogen synthesis. What we learned is they’re two kinds of carbs — “slow carbs” and “fast carbs.” You want to consume “slow carbs” like vegetables, whole fruits, ancient grains and legumes that take longer to digest and absorb in your system. They keep you feeling fuller longer.
Protein helps repair and build muscle after workout. Why? Exercise damages our muscles when we work out and eating protein after a workout is important as it contains amnio acids our bodies need to repair and rebuild muscle protein. According to Healthline, its best to consume i0.2– 0.4 grams of protein to maximize the body’s ability to recover after exercise. Some ideas include adding a protein shake or smoothie to your post-workout routine.
Fat is the most important for calorie control because they keep us feeling fuller, longer. This is better for weight management and for protecting our immune system. Fat might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal, however it will not reduce its benefits. Just remember to incorporate healthy fats like eggs, nuts, bananas, trail mixes.
When is the best time to eat after a workout?
Right away! We have a magical time — known as a ‘window of opportunity.’ This is the 30 to 60 minutes after finishing our workout. Our bodies are ready to refuel by absorbing carbs and protein again. It is important to not go much longer than a few hours before refueling with a meal or snack. Finally, replenishing lost water and electrolytes can complete the picture and help you maximize the benefits of your workout. So, drink plenty of water to maximize results.
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