Eating After Working Out
Many people put thought into their pre-workout meal but are you thinking about your post-workout meal? Before we dive into the nutrition part of working out lets talk about how working out actually works.
When you workout your muscles use up their glycogen. What is glycogen? It is the body's preferred source of fuel, especially during high intensity workouts. This results in the tired/heavy feeling of your muscles when you workout and it can always cause proteins in your muscles to be broken down and damaged.
After you workout your body is trying to repair those glycogen stores and regrow those muscles. It is very important to focus on what you're eating after your workout. Carbs and proteins are very important to eat because they help:
Decrease muscle protein breakdown
Increase muscle protein growth
Restore glycogen stores
Consuming an adequate amount of protein after you workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild those proteins and it requires the building blocks to help new muscle tissues.
The rate at which your glycogen stores deplete depends on the activity you are participating in, which decides how much carbs you should intake. For example, if you are doing a long distance run or swim then you will need to intake more carbs than someone who is weightlifting.
Fat is not always bad. Although fat may slow down the absorption of your meal the benefits are still the same. It is a good idea to limit the amount of fat you intake after a workout but having some fat will not affect your recovery.
Your post-workout meal also depends on when you eat it. Recovery is not all about what you consume directly after working out. It is best to eat small, well-balanced meals of carbs and protein every 3-4 hours.
There are many different benefits to the things you eat post-workout. You just have to be aware of what you are putting into your body and the goals you want to hit.