Don’t forget the most important meal!
No, I’m not talking about breakfast, but your post workout meal. So many people tend to shy away from post exercise nutrition because they believe it will, “undo the calories they just burned.”
Your body after a workout starts entering a catabolic state where your muscle glycogen is depleted and increased cortisol levels are beginning to excessively breakdown muscle tissue. These conditions are not good and the only way to reverse this catabolic state is to consume a quickly digestible post-workout meal or shake. If you don’t fuel your body, you won’t be optimizing muscle recovery and repair. Remember, you spent a significant amount of time training and breaking down the muscle for a good reason. You want it to be better adapted for future demands. So quickly replenishing and refueling, when you’re done training will help in reducing muscle breakdown. This time frame should be 30 minutes, and if that’s not possible, aim for within 60 minutes of a workout session.
What should this post-workout or shake be? Post workout feeding should be rich in protein and carbohydrates. This meal should be fat free. Eating fat can actually decrease the effectiveness of your post workout meal/shake. Since fat slows down transit through the stomach, eating fat during the post workout period may slow the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and proteins. Protein and carbohydrates will keep you energized for the rest of the day, and provide your muscle with fuel for your next training.
In conclusion, when you made the choice to start exercising you decided to give up a certain amount of time per week in the interest of getting healthy and better physically. However, if you haven’t spent the necessary time thinking about post exercise nutrition, you’re missing out on much of the benefits that come with exercising.
If you pay attention to this variable in the recovery equation, your time spent in training will be much better invested.