Did you know that the hour after you exercise is just as important as your fitness routine? Make the most of your hard work by giving your body the right tools.
Strength exercises, endurance training and cardiovascular activities are responsible for endless health benefits. However, we often forget that making sure we choose the right nutrition around when we work out is as important as the workout itself.
While exercising we push our muscles to new limits and our body responds with muscle soreness, the desire for rest and increased appetite — indications that we have depleted our muscles’ energy storage. Get more from your post-workout snack with these five simple rules.
High GI carbohydrates
These enter your bloodstream quickly so your muscles can utilise their nutrients immediately, resulting in a speedy recovery. It is recommended we have 0.8g per 1kg of body weight to speed up muscle carbohydrate replenishment while preventing excess fat. Grab a soft fruit, such as a banana, for an easy, on-the-go option.
This stops your muscles from wasting away and aids in rebuilding their structural aspects. The recommended amount of protein is between 0.2 to 0.4 grams per 1kg of body weight. Some examples of proteins are lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy.
Though they are important for refuelling, many of these options have restrictions to their benefits — work out which best complements your fitness goals.
Keep your after-workout meal fat-free. Not only will this limit the calorie intake and ensure you maintain a healthy heart, but it will also help you digest more quickly and make the replenishment more efficient. So triple bonus points here.
Eat straight away
The fitness industry calls this the ‘window of opportunity’ during which time your muscles are biochemically primed for nutrient uptake.
It is scientifically proven that having a post-workout meal immediately is more beneficial than having one even an hour later.
While natural whole foods should form the basis of any sound nutritional regime, supplements win hands down for post-exercise nutrition. When you exercise, your body stops the digestive process as it focuses on the exercising and providing energy directly to your muscles.
For this reason a shake is a better post-workout meal than a solid meal. A liquid meal can be completely digested within the hour, whereas a solid may take up to three hours to reach your muscles, missing that magic window of opportunity.
So you too now know the secret to your fitness success. By paying attention to what you are putting into your body you will quickly learn you can get the most out of it.
info: Paul Peroy is Lifestyle Fitness Australia group fitness manager.