What you eat post your workout is important, surely. But what is as critical is “when” do you eat it after you are done with the exercise session. Here is why “timing” and “composition of food”, both act as a catalyst to your achievements and goals. During an intense workout session, our muscle tissues are damaged and body fuels are used. Therefore, the repairing and rebuilding of muscles, refueling the exhausted sources requires optimum post workout nutrition. Nevertheless, this process ultimately results in leaner and fitter us. Regardless of your goal, i.e. weight loss or weight gain or any other specific goal, post workout meal is essential. Now that we know that after a workout, our body needs to recover, refill our energy stores, prevent muscle breakdown and improve protein synthesis, let’s look at how to do it right.
The window of opportunity: This refers to the time when your muscles are “primed” in accepting all the nutrients it requires for muscle building, muscle repair and growth. This anabolic window opens right after workout and closes gradually soon after. Thus, it is advised to grab high protein and carb snack immediately post workout. Failing to do so, you lower your chances for complete recovery, and compromise on replenishing glycogen stores and muscle repair. It is recommended to have your post workout meal within 45 minutes to reap maximum benefits.
What to Eat: Eating the right nutrients after exercise is just as important to attain your goals. Combination of both carbohydrates and protein is essential post a workout. Protein to repair muscles and protein synthesis, Carbohydrates to replete the glycogen stores (fuel that your muscles use) and recovery and together to also ensure new muscle growth. Most people skip the carbs here, thinking they will compromise on their weight related goals. But ironically, if you totally depend on protein to take care of post workout nutrition, most of the protein will used up for recovery and repair and leave hardly anything for muscle growth and building. Therefore, it’s important to support it by both protein and carbohydrates as it stimulates growth hormones. Do not forget water, proper hydration ensures optimal environment for maximum results.
Additionally, if you can pack this post workout nutrition in a liquid form, it works better, as liquids can be rapidly broken down and easily digested compared to solid foods. This will accelerate digestion and absorption process, thus resulting in better recovery.
Eat well, Train well!