When you work out intensely, you use your body’s fuel, sweat buckets, and damage your tissues one weight at a time. If you’re like most people, the last thought going through your mind is to quickly get nutrients/calories into your body by eating a meal or drinking a shake, especially after trying to burn off some extra calories! The reality is, your body quickly needs nutrients to recover from your workout, and without it could lose all the benefits of the workout you just did. The best part about it (by choosing the right food or drink)- those nutrients and calories are going to be used as soon as you put them into your body, rather than sit around on you until you decide to move again. Post workout recovery is so important for many reasons. The main ones being: to rehydrate, to refuel, and to rebuild.
1. Rehydrate. Your goal everyday should be to consume half your bodyweight in ounces of water. With added exercise, your goal is to consume even more water to make up for all that is lost while you sweat. Your water bottle should be close by throughout your workout so you can sip as you go. As soon as your workout is done the first thing you need to do is grab your water bottle and start drinking. The rule of thumb: take in 20 ounces of water per hour of workout. As an indicator of how hydrated you are, your urine should be a light yellow color or clear a few hours after your workout. If it’s any other color, you are dehydrated. Drink, drink, drink.
2. Refuel. During your workout your carbohydrate storage is getting depleted. You have a one-hour window after your workout to refuel your body, get all your energy back and ready to go for the next round. This means carbohydrate intake! Your body will accept the carbohydrates, use them as energy and help with recovery. Here is where your grains and fruit come in to help build up your depleted glycogen storage. Getting in 30g of carbohydrates per hour of intense workout is recommended.
3. Rebuild. Those muscles that you have just put through what seems like training for the Sochi Olympic games, are only going to heal one way. PROTEIN. Protein is the building block for recovery. Every time you lift a weight, your muscles tear. The only way to fix those tears, are by taking in protein so your body can get to work on a process called “protein synthesis”. This process aids in muscle growth and repair. Aim for 20g of protein post workout for optimal recovery!
As soon as you are done working out, your body has a one-hour “window of opportunity”. During this window, your muscles are geared up and ready to accept the nutrients that can fuel your muscles’ repair, growth and strength. So, make sure your workout is complete: REHYDRATE, REFUEL, and REBUILD. After all, who wants to bust their butt in the gym for an hour for nothing? NOT ME!
This article was written by Brittany Scott, Next Level Trainer/Performance Coach and Nutrition Coach for EatFit. She can be contacted at Brittany.Bailey@NLTraining.com.
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