In this article you will learn what the best things are to eat post workout!
While this may be well recognised and applied in many aspects of life, people seem to ignore this when it comes to their exercise training. On a daily basis, most people in the gym are wasting their time, spending hours engaged in strength or endurance training programs but not knowing what nutrition is beneficial after.
There’s a very easy way to make the most of your time. In most cases the exercise is not the problem. The problem is that people fail to pay attention to the nutrition required. Whether it’s to bulk or lean!
They’re spending their time focused on only the exercise program while ignoring the importance of a sound nutritional program.
In this article it will explain the most important aspect of exercise nutrition – eating during the post-workout period. The knowledge of how to eat during this time will maximise your efforts in the gym.
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The Post-Workout Period
Exercise, both strength and endurance training, is responsible for countless health and aesthetic benefits. However the exercise itself is a physiological stress. Symptoms of this “stress” are often mild and include muscle soreness, need for extra sleep and an increased appetite.
These symptoms let us know that the exercise has depleted the muscle’s fuel resources, caused some minor damage and that the muscle is in need of replenishment and repair. Changes allow the muscle to adapt by getting better at the exercise demands being placed on it.
If you’re doing endurance exercise, the muscle will become depleted and damaged in the short run, but in the long run it will compensate, building itself up to be a better aerobic machine.
If strength training is your thing, you’ll tear down you’re weaker muscle fibres in favour of building up bigger, stronger ones. In all cases, exercise essentially tears down old, less adapted muscle in order to rebuild more functional muscle. This phenomenon is called remodelling.
In particular, during the exercise bout and immediately following it, exercise breaks down our muscle carbohydrate stores and our muscle protein structures. Then, the immune system comes in to rectify it.
Without the proper protein and carbohydrates, this building can’t take place. You’ll be left with muscles that never reach their potential.
So to realise full return on your time, you need to give the body the raw materials it needs, namely protein and carbohydrates.
Related Article: Pre-Workout Meal: What To Eat Before A Workout
All trainees, regardless of their chosen mode of exercise, must take their post-exercise nutrition seriously in order to provide the muscle with the raw materials it needs.
All types of exercise use carbohydrates for energy, muscle carbohydrate depletion is inevitable. Therefore a post-workout meal high in carbohydrates is required to refill muscle carbohydrate/energy stores.
You need to consume enough carbohydrates to promote a substantial insulin release. Insulin is the hormone responsible for pushing carbohydrates and amino acids into the muscle.
Carbohydrate re-synthesis is accelerated and protein balance becomes positive, leading to rapid repair of the muscle tissue.
By consuming a large amount of carbohydrates, you will promote a large insulin release, increase glycogen storage and increase protein repair. Carbohydrates maximises glycogen synthesis and accelerates protein repair.
Muscle protein is degraded during exercise, the addition of a relatively large amount of protein to your post exercise meal is necessary to help rebuild the structural aspects of the muscle.
After exercise, the body decreases its rate of protein synthesis and increases its rate of protein breakdown. The provision of protein and amino acid solutions has been shown to reverse this trend, increasing protein synthesis and decreasing protein breakdown.
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Consuming Meal Timing
While your post-workout feeding should be rich protein and carbohydrate, this meal should be fat free. The consumption of essential fats is one of the most overlooked areas of daily nutritional intake. During the post workout period, eating fat can actually decrease the effectiveness of your post-workout beverage.
Since fat slows down transit through the stomach, eating fat during the post workout period may slow the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and proteins.
It is absolutely crucial that you consume your post-workout meal immediately after exercise. The muscles are depleted and require an abundance of protein and carbohydrate. In addition, during this time, the muscles are biochemically “primed” for nutrient uptake.
This phenomenon is commonly known as the “anabolic window“. Over the course of the recovery period, this window gradually closes and by failing to eat immediately after exercise, you diminish your chances of promoting full recovery.
Consuming a meal 1 hour later is superior to consuming one 3 hours later. If you wait too long, glycogen replenishment and protein repair will be compromised.
Whole Food Vs. Nutritional Supplements
There are some instances in which supplements can actually be superior to whole food. In the case of post-exercise nutrition, liquid supplement nutrition is far superior to whole food for the following reasons:
- Typically, after intense exercise, most people complain that eating a big meal is difficult. This is understandable as the exercise stress creates a situation where the hunger centres are all but shut down. However, it’s critical that you eat if you want to remodel the muscle, enlarge the muscle, or recover from the exercise.
- Fortunately liquid supplemental formulas are palatable, easy to consume and can be quite nutrient dense, providing all the nutrition you need at this time. In addition, since these formulas are structurally simple, the gastrointestinal tract has no difficulty processing them.
- Liquid supplemental formulas containing fast digesting protein (whey hydrolysates and isolates) and carbohydrates (dextrose and maltodextrin) are absorbed more quickly than whole food meals.
- A liquid post-exercise 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.
The faster the protein and carbohydrates get to the muscle, the better your chances for muscle building and recovery.
During the post exercise period, specific nutrients maximise your recovery. These include an abundance of water, high glycemic index carbohydrates and certain amino acids (in specific ratios). It’s also best to avoid fat during this time. The only way to ensure that these nutrients are present in the right amounts is to formulate a specific liquid blend.