Role of Nutrition in Post Exercise Recovery
It could be said that proper nutrition is about 90 percent of obtaining good health. The food you eat and the nutrients you put in your body is important for brain function, sleep, sexual function, and most importantly, fitness. If you are looking to lose weight and gain muscle, yet you are not seeing the results you should, your diet is mostly likely the culprit.
Learning how and what to eat before and after your workout can not only help you reach your physique goals, but even help perform better and recover faster.
Importance Of Post-Workout Nutrition
There is more to working out than just doing 3 sets of 10 or a 45-minute interval program. Your body goes through a lot of physical stress. As a result, this causes the breakdown of tissues and the use of a lot of energy.
The energy involved comes from oxygen, stored fat or stored carbohydrates, which is known scientifically as glycogen. According to the National Institutes of Health, glycogen is stored in the muscles and liver.1
It should stand to reason that working muscles use a lot of glycogen, so it is important to ensure that your levels are topped off. If not, you run the risk of bonking, which can compromise your workout performance.
This is not necessarily life-threatening, but it can lead to injury and also cause you to lose a race if you are in a competition.
Aside from having good glycogen stores before working out, it is also important to replenish them after exercise too. If you focus on this time frame, it can get you set up for your next workout.
The Rule of Protein and Cards Post-Workout
You’ve already learned a bit about carbs. But to expand a little more, think about them as your main source of energy. They are the fuel that your engine needs to hit on all cylinders.
When you cut carbs, you pay the price with low energy, brain fatigue and lackluster performance. At the end of a workout, especially a hard one, it is important to get them back into your system as quickly as possible. This is the perfect time to do so because your muscles are sort of like sponges, primed to take in nutrients.
Protein, on the other hand, is equally important. According to the American Council on Exercise, protein’s primary function is to repair tissue that has been broken down and damaged through exercise.2
If you think about that alone, it’s very important to make sure you don’t neglect this macronutrient. By consuming protein after a workout, you will prevent muscle damage and spark the rebuilding process. This then leads to gains in size, strength and power output in future workouts.
What Should You Eat After You Workout?
Ideally, you want to get fast-digesting foods into your system upon finishing a workout. Remember the sponge theory. The more digestible the food is, the quicker it can go to work to replenish your lost glycogen and promote muscle recovery.
That being said, a high-quality smoothie made with fresh or frozen fruit and protein powder is a good option. When you consume something in liquid form, it’s more digestible than whole food.
However, that’s not saying a whole-food meal is a bad option. In this case, the main thing you want to avoid is adding excess fat to the fold. Fat causes more blood flow to the stomach because it takes longer to break down than carbs or protein. So if you eat a high-fat meal, it could slow the recovery process down.
An example of a good meal here would be chicken breast with jasmine rice and veggies.
In the big picture, you do not have to get too stressed when it comes to your pre and post workout nutrition. Just keep it simple by following a balanced diet and make sure to get a good source of carbs and protein in your post-workout meal.
And lastly, also make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workouts. This will not only help keep you hydrated, but it will also further help with digestion.
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