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Email Us: info@wellwellusa.com

Post-Workout Nutrition Rules

Skip The Brownie—Grab the Fruit

Post-Workout Nutrition

By John Salak –

Once the workout is complete, it is natural to think that enough calories have been burned to eat to give a stomach a free ticket to whatever it desires whether it is healthy or not.

In fact, a 2018 study somewhat confirmed this approach to post-workout foods, reporting that 45 percent of gym-goers were more likely to choose a brownie over an apple. That’s a bad choice on all sorts of fronts, but especially for those who just finished working up a good sweat.

However tempting junk food is, a combination of good hydration, healthy proteins and carbohydrates is essential to maximizing the benefits of a workout.

“Nailing your post-workout nutrition promotes quicker recovery, reduces muscle soreness, builds muscle, improves immune system functioning and replenishes glycogen, key building blocks in priming you for future workouts,”  sports dietician Marni Sumbal recently told Men’s Health.

There are basic physiological reasons why a sound post-workout nutritional approach is important. During a workout, the body’s muscles break down and use glycogen as a source of energy. This means the body needs protein to rebuild muscle and carbohydrates to replenish glycogen. After an endurance workout, it is recommended to eat carbs to protein in a three-to-one ratio. This would come out to 120 grams of carbs and 40 grams of protein.

Ultimately, the exact amount of protein and carbs varies based on a person’s weight. After a strength workout, for example, it is advisable to consume a two-to-one carb-to-protein ratio. It is also recommended to wait 30-45 minutes after working out to eat and to combine the necessary proteins and carbohydrates in the same meal to maximize their impact.

It may seem counter-productive to have fats after a workout, but a limited amount of healthy fats balanced with protein is also okay. Healthy fats, however, are the key. For example, munching nuts with yogurt or fruit is okay, while fried food, cookies or candy is a no-go.

In addition to burning calories, the body also loses a lot of fluid after a workout. The American College of Sports Medicine notes that 23 ounces of fluid should be consumed for every pound lost during exercise between the end of the last workout and 1-2 hours before the next one starts. Replenishing liquids is possible through water or sports drinks.

Sports drinks offer the benefits of containing electrolytes but also hold high levels of sugar, which is not recommended. Coconut water is a good alternative because it has a high level of potassium and magnesium. Coconut water does not have any sodium, so after an endurance workout, a low-sugar electrolytes-rich source is recommended. Chocolate milk is another surprising source of carbohydrates and also has a high water content to help with dehydration.

When grocery shopping for a post-workout meal in mind, focus on non-processed, whole foods that are low in sugar and low in saturated fat. These are good at any time but especially after a workout, the Mayo Clinic reports. Eggs are the perfect example. They are high in protein and loaded with amino acids. In addition, items like blueberries, pineapples, watermelon and bananas all have the necessary protein and carbohydrate components to maximize a workout and improve recovery. These items can be used in simple meals like egg omelet with avocado spread on whole grain toast; Greek yogurt with blueberries and granola or oatmeal with bananas and almonds.

Sure, it is tempting to grab a slice of pizza on the way home from the gym. Unfortunately, that is a great way to undo the benefits of a workout. A body will be more thankful for a healthy, non-processed blend of fluids, proteins and carbohydrates.





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