Post-workout meals ensure we’re replacing the nutrients and fluids we expended during a workout. The purpose of your intake after a training session should be to refuel, rebuild and rehydrate – also known as ‘the three R’s of recovery nutrition’. It means focusing on carbohydrates (refuel), protein (rebuild) and fluids/electrolytes (rehydrate).
Meeting your body’s overall nutritional needs throughout the day, regardless of when you eat your meals, will help you achieve your goals while ensuring you lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle. However, consuming higher levels of particular macronutrients within your post-workout meals can provide certain benefits.
A post-workout meal containing high levels of quality protein can aid muscle adaptations and repair. As you exercise, your muscles endure micro-tears. The foods consumed afterwards can aid in tissue repair, as well as rebuilding and strengthening muscle. Eating 20-40 grams of high-quality, lean protein after a workout will maximize protein synthesis to repair muscles and enhance muscle growth. Protein rich foods include lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, and fish.
Refueling your body with 1.0-1.5g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight after your workout is optimal for glycogen resynthesis – the process where our bodies replenish the glycogen stores we’ve just used while exercising. Consuming proper carbohydrates after our workout can also help us control our energy levels throughout the day and improve recovery. Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, quinoa, or rice can help with refueling.
When you exercise, your body sweats to regulate temperature. As sweat evaporates from your skin, it removes heat from the body, but you also lose body fluid. You’ll need to rehydrate to replace the fluids lost during a workout. Water is essential for hydration and helps transport nutrients to your cells. You can also consider drinks with electrolytes like coconut water and supplements.
The timing of the post workout meal is as important as the macronutrients in it. Consuming a recovery meal 30 minutes to one hour after a training session is ideal for maximizing the benefits. Don’t go longer than a few hours before refueling with a meal or snack.
If you’re not getting proper nutrition post-workout, you may experience the following signs:
- Delayed recovery. If you’re not getting enough nutrients after your workout, your body may take longer to recover. This could manifest as muscle soreness, fatigue, or a lack of energy.
- Decreased performance. Without proper nutrition post-workout, your body may not have the necessary energy or nutrients to perform optimally during your next workout. This could lead to a decrease in performance or endurance.
- Decreased muscle mass. If you’re not consuming enough protein after your workouts, your body may not have the building blocks it needs to build or maintain muscle mass.
- Increased risk of injury. Without proper nutrition, your body may be more prone to injuries or strains during workouts.
- Weakened immune system. Nutrition is essential for supporting your immune system. If you’re not getting proper nutrition post-workout, your immune system may become weakened, making you more susceptible to illness.
It’s important to listen to your body and pay attention to any signs of inadequate nutrition post-workout. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to re-evaluate your post-workout nutrition habits and make changes to ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs to recover and perform optimally.
After intense exercise, many people complain that eating a meal is difficult. That’s understandable since exercise stress shuts down the hunger centers of the body. Because it’s critical to get in this post workout meal, liquid meals are a great solution. They are palatable, digestible, easy to consume, and nutrient dense. In fact the latest research has demonstrated that liquid supplemental formulas containing fast-digesting protein and carbohydrates are absorbed more quickly than whole food meals. A liquid formula may be fully absorbed within 30 to 60 minutes, providing much needed muscle nourishment by this time. However, a slower digesting solid food meal may take 2 to 3 hours to fully reach the muscle. So liquid meals take advantage of the “window of opportunity” that whole foods may miss post workout.
QCFIT has a variety of products to help you with your post nutrition needs, especially for those who can’t tolerate large, whole food meals after a training session. HYDRATE and RECOVER are two products geared towards post workout nutrition.
HYDRATE supports accelerated recovery, restores electrolytes, and recharges fluids. It contains the three main electrolytes of calcium, sodium, and potassium. It also contains L-Taurine which fights fatigue and promotes overall endurance and performance. It also initiates the fat metabolism process so fat fuel centers can be used as an energy source.
RECOVER whey and vegan proteins support muscle recovery and growth and are easy to digest. Both are cold pressed proteins which means they are never exposed to temperatures that alter, damage, or render the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients.
As always, connect with Jason or any of your QCFIT coaches for questions about nutrition and our products.
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