What you put into your body after crushing a workout is just as important as what you put into it before! Learn the reason for nutrients and their timing below.
Following the pre-workout blog post, it’s now time to discuss post-workout fueling. Your recovery period seeks to restore the glycogen that’s now lost from your challenging workout and aims to rebuild new muscle tissue that has been damaged. For this reason, good carbohydrates and protein sources are going to be your best friend. The intensity and duration of your exercise will determine the amount of carbs and protein you need, but a good rule of thumb is a 3:1 carb to protein ratio. Fun fact: chocolate milk has this “perfect ratio” on its own- nutrition doesn’t need to be complex. Additionally, your peak time for muscle growth and recovery is within an hour of activity, so to take full advantage of this “golden window of opportunity” and get in some carbohydrate-protein sources.
Medium to high glycemic foods are going to be most beneficial for muscle recovery because the elemental form is more easily absorbed into the muscles. However, all carbohydrate sources will do the trick so don’t get bogged down with specifics if you’re just starting out. For more information on glycemic index foods see my previous post linked here.
To maximize anabolism, consume roughly 0.4-0.55g/kg BW/meal or 1.6-2.2g/kg of high-quality protein spread across at least 4 meals along with the carbohydrate source. This will be crucial for muscle repair because it helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis and ensure training adaptations are fulfilled.
If your workout sessions are less than 8 hours apart, consuming carbohydrates immediately after exercise will help to maximize recovery time and hydration should also be carried out consistently. Additionally, liquid and solid forms of carbohydrates do not show large differences or benefits. To get carbohydrates into your system the fastest seek high glycemic foods as stated above! Appetite levels or convenience will also determine which form will be most effective. I know eating a bean burrito right after a run isn’t ideal for most, so a smoothie or shake may be the preferred choice!
After the “golden window” for nutrient fueling, make sure your next meal is well balanced and consists of carbs, proteins, healthy fats, and fiber! A few options are listed below.
6 Simple Post-Workout Snacks: That will get the job done
Glass of chocolate milk and banana
Tofu Scramble or Egg on Toast
Greek Yogurt w/berries
Black Bean Wrap
Tuna fish with crackers