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The Importance of Post Workout Nutrition
No matter where you are in your fitness regime, whether you are just starting or a world-class athlete, what we consume after our workouts applies to all of us. Whatever your personal fitness goals are, from weight-loss to building muscle, post workout nutrition is essential.
What do we need?
During exercise, your body accesses the stored fuel known as glycogen to meet the demands. Right after the workout, your muscles are depleted of their energy stores, and broken down. A post workout shake or meal will help rebuild your muscle and replenish energy stores. It’s very important to rebuild the muscles that were broken down during exercise in order to keep your metabolism high and burn fat. A recovery shake or meal should combine protein and carbs. If I have time, a burrito or sandwich is also a good post workout meal for me.
Water and Minerals
In addition to glycogen, water and minerals (sodium, potassium, and electrolytes) are lost while we sweat. Part of the post workout nutrition is replacing what was lost. Drinking water throughout the day is very important, but it’s not necessarily adequate right after a workout. While it’s important to avoid high sugary drink, it’s also important to have a post workout shake that contains the necessary elements that were lost during your workout.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which helps limit muscle breakdown, and speed muscle repair. It’s important we get enough amino acids for muscle maintenance, maintaining metabolism and stabilizing blood sugar. Amino acids also assist in strengthening the immune system and improving brain function. I add a scoop of an amino acid powder into my post workout shake after every training session.
The consumption of any one amino acid in high doses may block the absorption of other essential amino acids. It’s important to have a balance in your body. Quinoa is an excellent choice for a post workout food that contains a balanced amino acid content.
Your body needs nutrients as soon as possible to begin the recovery process. The suggested time to consume your recovery shake or meal is within 30 minutes to an hour after your workout. The sooner you start refueling, the better off you’ll be. If you are on the go, try to bring your recovery drink to your training session, or pack something as simple as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat when your finished.