3-2-1 TIME! You’re done working, but is your workout totally over when the buzzer sounds? That post-exercise high is awesome, but after a workout your tissues are inflamed, energy stores depleted, and your muscle fibers need repair. Until your body’s recovered, your workout isn’t done!
One of the most critical factors for recovery – aside from sleep – is nutrition. Far too often, it takes a back seat when it should be driving the rig. Without the right nutrition (and nutrient timing), recovery can be delayed, prolonging soreness and fatigue, as well as impacting future performance. To combat muscle breakdown and restore your glycogen stores, here are some general guidelines for a solid post-workout nutrition plan.
- Immediately Post Workout (within 30 minutes)
- Replenish glycogen. Consume carbohydrates immediately post-exercise. Use carbs that digest quickly, like honey, berries, and potatoes.
- Protein for muscle repair. We recommend a ratio of 2:1 carbs:protein, with a focus on protein that’s high in amino acids like whey, soy or collagen.
- Minimize fats. Fat (oils, olives, etc.) is best left to a minimum, since it slows digestion of carbs and protein.
- Rehydrate. The general guideline for hydration is 16oz of fluid per pound lost during exercise (ex: 1/2 lb lighter post-exercise = 8 oz fluid), but it doesn’t have to be exact. Basically, just keep drinking, people.
- Stage 2 Recovery (2-6 hours post-exercise)
- Continue filling up your tank with protein and carbs using the recommended 2:1 carb:protein ratio. Focus on eating whole foods with lots of veggies.
- Stage 3 Recovery (beyond 6 hours)
- Maintain blood sugar levels. Glycogen is now restored, so you can shift to eating balanced meals with healthy fats, carbs and protein.
- Keep eating proteins. The health benefits of proteins are extensive.
- Ramp up fat intake. Fats will provide energy to conserve carbohydrate stores and will keep you full. Nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, coconut oil and fats from grass-fed meats are all great options.
Post-Workout Meal Examples
- Post Workout Meal (within 15 minutes): Whey protein mixed in no-sugar added apple juice
- Recovery Meal 1 (2 hours post workout): Roasted chicken, mixed berries, coconut water, and almonds
- Recovery Meal 2 (4 hours post workout): Grilled grass-fed beef, with salad and sweet potato cooked in coconut oil
Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and eating for recovery may differ for you, based on your individual goals. If you feel like you may need a more specific program, I encourage you to talk to Laura about putting together a plan for you.
Here’s to good health!