Post Workout Nutrition
For many people, finding the motivation to stick with a workout routine is a huge hurdle. Not seeing results or hitting a fitness plateau can be incredibly frustrating. Previously, I discussed the importance of pre-workout nutrition. Today we are going to dive into the importance of post workout nutrition.
There are three main reasons to focus on your post-workout nutrition:
· Replenishing your glycogen or energy stores
· Increasing your muscle size and quality by decreasing your protein breakdown
· Repairing any damage that happened during your workout, increasing your protein synthesis
During a workout, your body uses whatever sugar you have in your blood first for energy. Once that’s used up, it typically goes to glycogen – a form of sugar stored in muscles. Both fast-digesting simple carbs and slow-digesting complex carbs will replenish the glycogen you depleted during your workout. Foods like bananas, apples, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, or brown rice are possible post workout carbohydrate options.
If your workout includes strength training, you can create small micro-tears in your muscle tissue. You will need to include protein post workout. Protein is made up of amino acids (building blocks of muscle). It is recommended eating a two-to-one ratio of carbs to protein. Think about 30-50 grams of carbs and 15-25 grams protein. Some easy examples would be brown rice and beans, chicken and sweet potatoes, and smoothies made with protein powder and fruit.
There is much discussion surrounding macro nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats); however, micro nutrients must be a focus as well. Minerals such as sodium, calcium and potassium are key for muscle energy. Making sure you are eating foods rich in potassium and calcium is important post workout. Don’t use the need for sodium as an excuse to drench your meals in salt. Please understand that humans are amazingly great at justifying their overindulgence. We can make all healthy things unhealthy in excess!
Timing and hydration are also an important aspect of post workout nutrition. Your window to replenish is typically immediately following, to about 2 hours post workout. Making sure you replenish your body, will ensure that you are stronger and better recovered for your next workout. Water is vital for muscle protein synthesis. Not hydrating properly after a workout can increase muscle soreness, making your recovery more painful and much slower. So YES I’m harping on the importance of DRINKING WATER…AGAIN!!!
Try not to over-analyze and over-think your nutrition! Eat healthy whole foods and drink water post workout. Start small and simple, don’t worry and stress about every detail! Changing habits will not happen overnight, taking small steps each week will help you make big changes faster than you realize. Give your body what it needs to produce the results you desire…we tend to over-complicate very simple concepts. Focus on your goals, not the little mistakes along the way!