Refueling After Your Killer Workouts
We all know the amazing role nutrition can play in helping us achieve our fitness goals. Not only are important throughout the day, eating your meals before or after a workout is crucial as well! A high-intensity workout can really take its toll on your body causing minor muscle damage and the depletion of glucose/energy stores; making the post-workout meal of vital importance. By replacing, replenishing, and rebuilding our muscles we increase our endurance and become better exercise machines.
Crush Your Post-Workout Meal
To achieve all of that, you need the proper nutritional building blocks (you can’t build your house on a foundation of sand). The main building blocks we need are protein and carbohydrates. They provide what we need to replenish glucose stores and repair and grow our muscles!
This doesn’t just apply to men; this applies to women as well as we all want to get the most out of our workouts!
One of the main things we need to replenish is carbohydrates. Carbs are our main component of energy. You simply must replenish these stores that get drained during a strenuous workout.
Not only do you need carbohydrates to replenish the energy stores lost but you need a big enough carb load to induce insulin release. Insulin secretion, which occurs after a meal to regulate blood sugar, causes our muscles to absorb protein more effectively, therefore, helping repair and grow muscles better.
The Ideal Post-Workout Meal
Science has shown that we need between 0.8g to 1.2g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight post-workout (150lb person = 54.4g to 81.6g carbs) to maximize our gains (Van Loon et al. 2000). If you are worried about fat gain, stick to the lower end of this spectrum.
Likewise, we all realize we need protein to repair and build bigger muscles after an intense workout. Science has shown that after a workout we need anywhere from 0.2g to 0.4g of protein per kilogram of body weight (150lb person = 13.5g to 27.2g protein) (Levenhagen et al 2001) with at least 3-4g of leucine (Stark et al 2012) to sufficiently maximize our gains!
Lastly, your post-workout meal should be relatively low-fat.
This is because fat can slow down the absorption of carbs and protein that you want to be delivered to the muscles quickly after your workout! Maybe most important is that you need to remember to consume this meal right after your workout! The sooner the better when it comes to a post-workout meal.
For instance, eating a meal immediately after a workout is better than 30 minutes after a workout which is better than 3 hours after a workout! We want to replenish our muscles with protein and carbs so the sooner the better! I would recommend eating your post-workout meal within at least an hour of your workout!
Some great post-workout foods include:
- Bananas and peanut butter
- Tuna sandwich
- Whey protein shake and Gatorade or dextrose (both carbs)
- Hummus and Pita
When it comes down to it, you want to get the most out of your workout. You put the time and energy into being at the gym so you should refuel properly with the ideal post-workout meal to get the best possible gains.
Take the time to replenish properly! Eat and grow!
Get more information:
Levenhagen DK, Gresham JD, Carlson MG, Maron DJ, Borel MJ, Flakoll PJ (2001) Postexercise nutrient intake timing in humans is critical to the recovery of leg glucose and protein homeostasis. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 280: 982-993.
Stark M, Lukaszuk J, Prawitz A, Salacinski A (2012) Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 9: 54.
Van Loon LJ, Saris WH, Kruijshoop M, Wagenmakers AJ (2000) Maximizing postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis: carbohydrate supplementation and the application of amino acid or protein hydrolysate mixtures. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72: 106-111.