You just blasted your way through another one of T&J’s grueling classes and are feeling stronger by the day! You grab your towel to wipe the sweat off of your drenched forehead and finish off what is left in your water bottle as you head out the door. You attempt to gracefully slide into your car, despite shaky legs, while your mind is already focused on crossing the next thing off of your list for the day. After all, you just killed that workout, and your list is never-ending-- so it’s on to the next thing ... right?
Well, maybe-- but only if the next thing on your list is to consume a proper post-workout meal! Post-workout nutrition is often an overlooked aspect of one’s fitness regimen, but is one of the most important factors for improved performance and recovery.
Why is post-workout nutrition important?
Strength training and high intensity workouts actually cause your muscle fibers to break down. Damaging these tissues is your body’s way of repairing and replacing weaker muscle tissue with stronger and more functional muscle. In order for one to see results and allow stronger tissue to be formed, the body must be in a state of protein synthesis, or rebuilding. This is where post-workout nutrition is such a big deal! If your body does not receive the proper energy and nutrients after a workout, you will not recover as well and your gains may be limited!
How soon should I eat after a workout?
It is understandable if you can’t quite stomach the thought of food after a gut-wrenching class, but the sooner you can eat after a workout-- the better! There is a period of time after a workout that is considered the post-workout “window,” in which your body is primed and ready to accept nutrients and start the rebuilding process. Exact timing of when to eat after a workout has not been established, but research suggests that this post-exercise meal should be consumed within 1 hour after finishing up.
What should my post-workout meal consist of?
Post-workout nutrition requires two important nutrients: carbohydrates and protein. Protein is necessary for aiding in protein synthesis and the shaping of new tissue, while carbohydrates help replace muscle glycogen that was diminished during the workout. The necessary amounts of these nutrients can vary depending on the workout and the individual. For example, one may not require the same amount of carbohydrates after a yoga class as they would after a high intensity cardio class. Also, some individuals can be more sensitive to certain nutrients or require a modified diet, in which one of our nutrition specialists or our registered dietitian can help!
Post-workout meal examples: