Every workout we put our bodies through a process which leads to muscle cells being broken down, glycogen stores to be used, and various oxidative stress which requires good quality nutrients being driven back into the cells to promote muscle recovery.
Yes, You may want to lie down for 20 minutes as the room stops spinning because you’ve just been through an intense but effective workout which has ticked all boxes for your goals so you’re high on endorphins. Endorphins are also known as “happy” hormones that are released by our body when we feel good and get that sense of achievement. Exercise is definitely a great way to boost your endorphins and feel great.
However if you want great results from your program which matches the effort you have given into your performance then you must consider the foods, and nutrients you will consume post-workout.
You need to be in the mind-set to get the best results from applying your best effort, “Average people get average results from average amount of effort.”
Carbohydrates are essential
After your workout, cabrohydrates are an essential nutrient body requires as we are in a catabolic state. In simple terms, the process of breaking down muscle tissue for fuel which will have a negative impact on any athlete regardless of their desired goal. Carohydrates play an important role in converting our body into an anabolic state. As you can work out, this is the process of rebuilding our muscles and connective tissues from the oxidative stresses and damage caused from strength and cardiovascular exercise. A good carbohydrate for your post workout meal should be high in Glucose, low in Fructose, and have a high insulin index. Therefore some good carbohydrate food choices for after your workout are apricots, kiwis, and pineapples. In addition to this, you can choose any red, blue, or purple fruit juices such as pomegranate juice. These options are packed with anti-oxidants and phytonutrients which aid the recovery process by removing the toxins and lactate in the muscles which is a by-product of intense exercise and meet all 3 requirements. You should aim for 20-30g carbohydrates as a guideline after your workout then manipulate based on your goals such as performance or gaining lean tissue.
During the menstrual cycle, I would always encourage females to consider 80% dark chocolate as another option to be added to their post-workout meal as this is high in anti-oxidants but also supports oestrogen metabolism. For example, blueberries and dark chocolate pieces in a bowl is fine.
On the other hand, bananas, grapes, mangoes, and avocados are wrong choices for your post workout meal. These have a high fructose content and this will prompt liver glycogen replenishment at the expense of muscle glycogen stores. Glycogen refers to the carbohydrates being stored in the liver or muscle for energy. Simply, imagine holding a soaking wet sponge and continually squeezing more and more until there is only a damp sponge left. This analogy represents your glycogen stores gradually being emptied throughout your workout
This should be delivered into the muscle cells quickly therefore choosing an easily digestable and fast absorbing protein source is optimal for getting the best results. You should aim to choose eggs, or whey protein as these work in tandem with good carbohydrates. Alternatively milk is a great source of protein post-workout but this can be diminishing for anyone who suffers with gut inflammation from milk or lactose consumption. You should aim for 15-25g protein after your workout and manipulate yet again based on your goals.
Be prepared and be consistent with your post-workout nutrition as this is one of many contributing factors to achieving better fat loss. More importantly, your food choices after your workout will prompt the recovery processes. Stress and Sleep is a whole new chapter to discuss but there are often under-valued factors in contributing to performance, fat loss, and recovery therefore good nutrition can help prompt an anabolic state within our bodies, reducing stress which triggers cortisol hormones, and support with healthy hormone regulation which falls hand in hand with good sleep quality. Stay disciplined to your personal goals.
Thanks for reading my blog and hope this has helped your learn more about post workout nutrition and how to apply this to your lifestyle to achieve optimal body composition and performance goals.
Thanks Jake Wood