Featured story February 4, 2015
Four Effective Post Nutrition Tips
1. Plan to eat within 30 minutes after your workout
While a number of athletes and fitness enthusiasts focus heavily on what they eat prior to a tough and grueling workout, the reality is that the nutrients you consume afterwards are just as important. They can aid in muscle recovery, help you recoup some of the energy you’ve expended, and ultimately help you better reach your health and fitness goals. That is, as long as you follow some basic post-workout nutrition tips.
To help you understand why this is so important, think of your body like a sponge. By working out, you’re essentially wringing the sponge dry, using up all of the vitamins and minerals it needs for healthy function. Therefore, the sooner you can rehydrate the sponge via consuming the nutrients it requires, the better. That’s why health experts such as the National Athletic Trainers’ Association recommend eating within 30 minutes after your workout session is complete. Your body will soak up what it needs best during this timeframe, effectively replacing what you’ve used.
2. After high-intensity cardio workouts, focus more on carbs
Because you will have used a lot of your energy stores during a heart rate-increasing workout, you’ll want to replenish them post-workout by eating some carbs. The type of carbs is purely individual. Some people find that simple carbs like those found in fresh fruit and dairy products give them the nourishment they need whereas others notice more positive effects by choosing complex carbohydrates, like grains and potatoes. You could also take a median approach and have a little bit of each so you’re getting the advantages of both.
3. After working your muscles, protein is the key.
Protein helps speed the recovery of your muscles after subjecting them to a difficult strength-training workout. Additionally, like carbohydrates, protein also helps restock your energy stores, which leaves you feeling less tired and more invigorated after your exercise sessions. Some lean protein sources to consider include nuts, seeds, eggs, and lean meat. Another option is to drink a protein shake. A number of gyms sell them, but you can also make your own at home.
4. Drink more fluids
Not only is it important that you replenish your food stores after working out, but you also need to replace the fluids you’ve lost. The Mayo Clinic suggests that you refill your body’s water supply by consuming 2-3 cups of water for every pound you lost during the exercise session. Of course, this requires you weighing yourself before and after the workout so you know how much you actually need.
In the end, you want to listen to your body to decide what it needs after you complete your workouts. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise, there is also no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery. Simply figure out what feels best to you and do it.