Avoid Refueling Foolishness
Your workouts do not exist in a vacuum.
Every decision you make during the day has an impact on your health and wellness. While some exercise is better than no exercise, exercise that is not complemented with good nutrition is robbed of providing its full benefit. Consider these tips when preparing for the aftermath of your next workout:
Try to eat within 45 minutes of your workout. Our muscles burn their glycogen stores (the readily available sugars used to fuel movement) during workouts. They also get damaged over the course of a workout, which is generally a good thing since this is the first step in how our muscles get stronger! Getting some nutrition in right after your workout will help your body recover faster and also maximize your muscle growth.
Pay attention to labels. An energy bar or protein shake seems like a great solution! But be sure that you are mindful of what you are putting into your body. Many of these products have a lot of added sugars and other additives that makes them less desirable if your goal is better overall health. For a simple, less-processed solution, Tracy Cusick, a certified personal trainer at FitMe Wellness, recommends a peanut-butter-and-sliced-banana sandwich on whole-wheat bread for a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. If you are worried about added sugars or blood sugar levels, opt for peanut butter labeled “natural” or “no sugar added” and naturally leavened (sourdough) whole-wheat bread.
Stay hydrated. Your body needs adequate hydration to be able to digest and process your post-workout nutrition, in addition to replacing the water lost in perspiration during your workout. Be sure to be adequately hydrated before you start your workout, keep drinking water during your workout, and drink water afterward with your post-workout nutrition.
Protein? Protein. If you are looking to build strength and grow muscle, then eating surplus protein is absolutely necessary. A 2008 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommended a post-workout supplement to be consumed within 30 minutes of the end of the workout that included .3-.5 grams per kilogram of body weight, roughly translating to .14-.23 grams per pound of body weight. For an easy rule of thumb, think 15-20 grams of protein for every 100 pounds of body weight.