Sweat dripping down your body, muscles clinching, and your thighs are shaking. These are all signs that you worked hard and had a great workout, but they are also signs that you have depleted your energy stores. In order to get the most out of your workout one must replenish their body with proper post-workout nutrition. For best results you want to maximize post workout glycogen synthesis, stop protein break down, and promote protein synthesis. If you’re doing resistance and/or endurance exercise, muscles will become depleted and damaged in the short run, but in the long run they will compensate, building up to be stronger and more enduring. Exercise essentially tears down old, less adapted muscle in order to rebuild new and more functional muscle. Now who doesn’t want the best results after putting in all that hard work?
An easy rule of thumb one should try to shoot for 15–25g of protein depending on weight and activity level. A 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein has shown to be optimal to maximize glycogen synthesis, and for protein to provide the building blocks for muscle repair. Post-workout recovery should be consumed immediately, or as close to within 30 minutes of your workout as possible to hit the optimal window of opportunity for the greatest recovery and results. It is best to consume the ratio in a liquid for easy digestion and absorption in the blood stream. It is also best to try to consume a full recovery meal within 2–3 hours after your workout.
The right workout nutrition is very important, but doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult to fit in. Plan ahead to ensure the body has the right nutrition for fast, adequate recovery. Make a homemade smoothie before you head to the gym for an easy post recovery meal. Some great ideas for complex carbs would be sweet potatoes or oats which both could be added to your smoothie. Other great ideas to add are milk, water, protein powder (with branch chained amino acids), liquid egg whites, peanut butter, fruit, and cinnamon. One can play around to see what works best with them, but I believe everyone will see with optimal recovery you can work out harder, which will lead to quicker results.
½ large banana
8 oz chocolate milk
1 T peanut butter
1 cup ice
276 calories, 10g protein, 38g carbs
Berry Vanilla Smoothie
¾ cup blueberries
¾ cup blackberries
4 oz milk
½ scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup ice
193 calories, 15g protein, 34g carbs
By: Julia Bell
For more information on a healthy lifestyle contact:
Andrea W. Kendrick, RDN, LDN
Registered Dietitian & Sports RD
865. 474. 0211