Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When and what to eat after a workout

I hear this question often. 

"I know I do the whole eating after a workout wrong. I am horrible at working out and then waiting hours to eat. Who knows the rules on this?"

I love this topic! For an endurance athlete (marathoner/triathlete) your ratio is 3 carbs to every 1 protein. So that's why chocolate milk works well for endurance athletes, or a whole banana with a half scoop of protein whey is about 10 grams protein, to 30 grams of carbs (3/1) 

if your goal is to lean out or build muscle then you eat as much protein as your body will absorb (around 25 grams normally for us Chicas) and then you have it with a simple sugar. A fruit like banana or strawberry is great but try to avoid fat and fiber (if possible green smoothies) your workout is like an insulin shot making the gates of your muscles open so they take in nutrients more quickly. This window of opportunity closes about 45 minutes after your workout. So the sooner the better. 

Fat also inhibits absorption of the protein and carbs in your gut which may make it so the nutrients don't absorb in that window of time) protein repairs and carbohydrates energize your muscles) so - low fat, low fiber high carbs and depending on your goals if it is endurance or building the protein amount will change. 

I truly believe for endurance the post workout meals are extremely important and even more important than the typical carb loading that some do the week of a race. the post-workouts will keep the shelves of your muscles stocked with energy. Your muscles pull most the energy from your workouts directly from your muscles and a workout can deplete that. Just eating normally for a non active person will restock the shelves but for an active person a post workout is best!!

Follow up question: "You're saying no green smoothie after a workout? Stick with milk or protein shake instead?"

This is a subject I like and wanted to know more about so I spent a lot of time on it! Green smoothies are great but they don't optimize post workout nutrition so if your trying to max out nutrition and increase sport performance then a low fat, low fiber with carbohydrate and protein meal is better. So yes if your doing endurance a low fat chocolate milk is great!

2nd follow up question: "How do you balance the protein shakes and eating breakfast while trying to lose weight? I feel like if I do that then I will barely have calories left for lunch or dinner and will be hungry later."

It's a good concern that many of us ladies share. Why add calories? It's a principle of nutrient timing it's not just about the calories but about when our bodies best use the nutrition and how it influences hunger. Even though I add calories (around 160) with post workout it also ties over my hunger and keeps my blood sugar in line so I make more calculated decisions at my next meals. Otherwise I can become ravenous and I make poor decisions and I end up eating a lot more in calorie cost than the post workout meal was. 

But everyone is different and I think we get familiar with how our own bodies respond so after giving it a good try if it doesn't seem to help in any way then it may be good to go with what does work. 

Here are some links to my favorite post workout snacks.

Greek Yogurt Lean Treat

Strawberry Vanilla Protein Shake

Dessert for Breakfast

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Peanut Butter Fudge Shake

Happy Healthy Eating!

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