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In case you missed it, 4 Points Health and Wellness had a pretty exciting Open House event this past weekend to give the community a chance to try out some classes and meet myself and all of our other fantastic practitioners. If you managed to stop by, a huge thank you to you, but if you didn’t make it, or you missed my presentation, then you’re in luck, because I’m going to give you the coles notes version, right now!
Saturday I got to speak about post workout nutrition, and what your body needs in order to refuel and recover after your sweat sesh.
When you exercise, you deplete your body’s glycogen stores (stored energy from glucose), and these stores need to be replenished. In addition to this, you also cause muscle tissue damage (protein catabolism) which needs to be repaired.
In order to replenish glycogen stores, your body needs carbohydrates, while protein is needed to repair and build muscle tissue. It is recommended that you consume protein and carbs in a ratio of 1:4 after you exercise. A good rule of thumb is to consume between 15 – 20 grams of protein, and to consume about 1 gram of carbohydrates per 1 kg of body weight (or about 0.5 grams per pound of body weight).
This may sound like a lot of carbs, but contrary to popular belief, carbs are not the enemy. They are your body’s (and you brain!!!) preferred fuel source, and you need them in order to perform optimally. You also need them in combination with protein to contribute to muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth).
It’s best to try to have your post workout meal as soon as possible after you exercise to get your body the nutrients it needs to start repairing ASAP. Also, when you exercise, you create an environment in your body that is capable of storing glucose, and synthesizing muscle tissue more effectively than any other time, so take advantage of it, get that fuel, and those building blocks in right away, or at least within 1 – 2 hours of the end of your workout.
Some tips for choosing post workout foods:
- choose some carbs that are higher on the glycemic index (this recommendation may not apply if you are diabetic of have blood sugar issues) like bananas, pineapples, or dried fruit
- choose complete proteins to get a full spectrum of amino acids
- generally sources of complete proteins are animal based like meat, eggs, and dairy, however you can get complete proteins from vegan sources like beans, chickpeas, etc, if you combine them with a whole grain like brown rice, oats, or quinoa
- get your nutrients from whole food sources whenever possible
- if you’re not able to have a whole food meal post workout and you’re choosing a protein shake or recovery beverage, try to choose high quality products with ingredients you understand, and minimal artificial sweeteners