By Toria Cornett, ATC, CSCS
Most people understand that it is important to pay attention to what you are eating before and after exercise. But actually knowing what the best choices are, and how to implement them, is a different story. How soon after a workout sesh should you be eating to get the maximum workout recovery and benefit of the effort you just put in? What should you be eating, anyway?
Let’s start with the obvious: Water is your best friend for workout recovery before, during and after exercise. We know hydration is essential, but through sweat we also lose electrolytes like potassium and sodium, so it is important to replenish these as well. It is important that you replace any fluids lost during your workout. There are many ‘sport drinks’ available, so find one that you enjoy the most and that won’t interfere with your goal for sugar intake.
So, you’ve just finished a killer leg workout. How can you leverage nutrition to promote muscle recovery? Most professional literature says that you should eat a nice combination of carbohydrates and protein within two hours of your workout.
Carbohydrates are important because they will replenish your glycogen stores. Glycogen gives your muscles energy, and is significantly depleted during a workout. Research says to consume 0.3-0.6 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight in a meal after your workout. (Within two hours—usually the sooner the better.)
Proteins are vital because they play an essential role in tissue recovery. They also improve glycogen stores when combined with carbohydrates. Use the formula one gram of protein to every four grams of carbohydrates. This will ensure that you are getting the most bang for your bite.
With those two things in mind, think about including one of the following awesome post workout snacks to maximize your potential!
1. Non-fat yogurt (preferably greek, for the protein content) and fresh fruit (for a quick insulin boost, which will help out those glycogen levels!)
3. Low-fat chocolate milk (you’ll get sugar and protein!)
4. Tuna on wheat bread
These are just a few of the quick and easy meals you can have after your workout. However, if you are looking for an even more convenient and simple option, check out our Whey Superior Charge. This high quality protein features fiber and DMG to support workout recovery and muscle health, as well as protein digestion.* Mix our vanilla in orange juice for the perfect post workout drink, or check out this awesome post workout smoothie.
Happy lifting—and eating!
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.