If you were unable to read the last article on pre-fueling, I would certainly recommend it. The pre-fueling article will provide you with a better understanding on the importance of macronutrient choices before your workout.
Consuming nutrient-dense foods after your workout will also benefit your overall performance and recovery. Paying attention to macronutrient choices in our post-workout meal is essential to repair, recover, and rebuild your muscle and energy stores.
Carbohydrates are essential after training sessions and competitive events to restore your glycogen levels. When exercising, the body will use carbohydrates as its main source of energy. Once the body has depleted its glycogen stores, it will then utilize protein and fat as secondary energy sources. It’s important for athletes to consume an abundance of carbohydrates before competitive events to prevent depleted glycogen stores and enhance recovery time.
To prevent muscle protein breakdown, a moderate consumption of protein is recommended post-workout. Protein is digested in the stomach and broken down into amino acids. Amino acids are then used as building blocks to repair muscles and tissues. An adequate amount of protein intake post-workout will facilitate the repairing, rebuilding and recovery of muscle mass. The amount of protein will depend on the type of workout (strength training versus endurance) and duration of the training session.
It is advised that strength training athletes consume 1.5-2.0 g/kg of protein per day to maintain protein balance. This protein intake is equivalent to consuming roughly five servings of beef, chicken or fish per day for a 180-pound athlete.
Recommendations from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggest endurance athletes consume 1.2-1.4 g/kg of protein per day. A 180-pound athlete would need to consume about four servings of beef, chicken or fish per day (around 110 grams) or an equivalent amount of protein from plant-based sources.
The type of fat you consume will affect the overall performance of your workout. Choosing healthy fats will aid reduced inflammation and the maintenance of proper body functions. Consuming foods with limited amounts of trans fat and saturated fats – which are found in foods like butter, chips, cake, and red meat – and increasing your consumption of unsaturated fats will decrease your risk for developing various chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.
To refuel your body after an endurance workout, your body will need foods high in carbohydrates, high in protein, and moderate in fat content. Endurance athletes are recommended to consume foods high in carbohydrates within one-hour post-workout to restore muscle glycogen levels. You should also incorporate foods that are high in protein to replenish the body’s muscle and tissue stores. Adding in some type of healthy fat will address many critical functions throughout the body.
To improve recovery after a strength training workout, your meal or snack will need to be high in carbohydrates, high in protein, and moderate in fat content. Consuming a high-carbohydrate food source after your workout session is essential for optimal athletic recovery. If you were thinking about making a protein shake, I would recommend using whey protein powder as this is a type of fast-digesting protein. This makes it easier and faster for your body to digest. This is critical for gaining lean muscle mass. Utilizing fats within the diet promotes recovery as well.
Examples of Carbohydrate-Rich Foods
Examples of Protein and Fat-Rich Foods
The Incredible Hulk Protein Shake
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
2 cups spinach
½ cup frozen mango
1 cup soy milk