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Post Workout Food and Drink Tips

Discussion in 'Dietetics' started by Egyptian Doctor, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    You want to make the most of the time and effort you are investing in your workouts, right? People tend to focus on what they eat or drink before or during their workouts but what you do after the workout is key.

    The 45-minute Window


    There is a window of opportunity after a hard workout to put your body in the best post-workout position possible. The window is ideally 45 minutes with an outside of 2 hours. This is when your blood flow to muscles is greater. This is when the muscle cells are more likely to take up glucose. This is when muscle cells are more sensitive to insulin and are more inclined to build and repair muscle.


    The 45-minute to 2-hour window comes down to three things:


    #1 Replenish fluids and electrolytes lost during the workout


    #2 Replace muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) used during the workout


    (About 90% of the carbohydrate consumed post-workout is deposited in


    the muscle glycogen)


    #3 Provide protein because the amino acids in the circulation help turn on protein synthesis and help repair muscles post workout


    You can accomplish all of the above by drinking and eating wisely after your workout. Here's how to do that.

    Step 1 Drink Wisely After Your Workout


    It's important to drink wisely before and during a long workout, but after the workout is super important too. This is when your body is working to replenish carbohydrate stores in the muscle (glycogen) along with the water and electrolytes lost in sweat.


    Tip: drink 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during your workout


    Nutrient-Enhanced Beverages Can Come In Handy


    These beverages can come in handy especially after 1 hour of strenuous exercise and/or exercising in very hot/humid conditions. There are some great-tasting drinks out there to choose from, look for some carbohydrate along with electrolytes.


    One of my favorite flavors is vitaminwater revive with 32 grams of carbohydrate in a 20-ounce bottle, plus some potassium added vitamin C and an assortment of B-vitamins. If you would rather go with a zero calorie drink while getting simple carbohydrates in your post workout meal or snack then vitaminwater zero revive is a great choice.


    Tip: If your drink tastes a little too sweet for your liking, just add one part water to one part drink.


    Tip: If your workout is strenuous and/or you are sweating a lot and you are drinking water or a beverage without a lot of sodium...pair your drink with a meal or snack that contains sodium. (Sweating generally makes people lose more sodium than potassium and sodium in drinks and food promotes fluid retention.)

    Milk Magic


    Milk naturally contains electrolytes (sodium and potassium) plus two types of protein, whey and casein. Whey protein is digested and absorbed more quickly than casein and is high in the amino acid-leucine-that has been shown to re-synthesize muscle the fastest after a workout. Casein, which digests more slowly, keeps the supply of circulating amino acids going after the whey protein amino acids have been used.


    16 ounces of milk contributes about 20 grams of protein-the amount recommended to stimulate muscle building, and about 30 grams of carbohydrate. Make it chocolate milk and you will get a carb boost from the sweetener (about 50 to 60 grams of carbohydrate total).


    Tip: Drinking chocolate milk within 45 minutes after a strength workout will give muscles the amino acids it needs when it is most receptive for repair.


    Step 2 Eat Wisely After Your Workout


    Your meal/snack after a hard workout will be providing carbohydrates and protein to help fuel and build your body.


    The carbohydrates in your post-workout meals or snack will replace energy stores and the simple carbohydrates are digested the fastest such as milk, fruit, fruit juice and sports drinks.


    Around 50 grams of carbohydrate within 45 minutes after a prolonged workout will speed recovery of body glycogen stores in muscle.


    Another rule of thumb is to consume about .8 grams of carbohydrate per 2.2 pounds of body weight within 60 minutes after your workout.


    The protein in your post workout meal or snack will start repairing tiny muscle tears, decrease muscle soreness and may even improve subsequent muscle function and performance (more studies need to be done to confirm these benefit)! [Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, volume 7 number 19, Saunders M. et al.]


    20 grams of high quality protein promotes muscle protein balance and enhances training adaptations


    Quick Recovery Snack/Meal ideas:


    Greek yogurt parfait (Greek yogurt, fruit, nuts or whole grain granola)
    Smoothie made with fruit and lowfat milk (or similar) or Greek yogurt
    Lean chicken or turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with banana
    Peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread with lowfat milk
    Bean burrito
    Whole grain pretzels or crackers with string cheese
    Trail mix with dried fruit and nuts with lowfat milk
    And egg breakfast sandwich made with whole grain bread or an egg white & spinach omelet with milk or whole grain toast
    Whole grain bagel with almond or peanut butter

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