We work hard and our days are long. We wake up, spend hours at work and at the end of the day we’re exhausted. We make time for our friends and families when we can and it’s hard enough to make time for our workouts and training sessions. But we do, because just like everything else, they’re part of our lives. So what else are we forgetting? Nutrition. There’s more to it than what to do to fuel your body before a workout; we need to start remembering to take care of our bodies after our workouts, too. We know you understand why nutrition is important, but now we want to stress why post-workout nutrition is, also.
“But I Ate Before Training.”
Eating before your workout is great, and essential. Our bodies need the energy that food provides to push us through our routines. But guess what happens to that fuel? We burn right through it.
During our workouts, our bodies are breaking down both protein and carbohydrates as our muscles work and we push ourselves harder and harder. And as difficult as it is when we’re tired post-workout, it’s important to replace what we’ve spent so our bodies have the opportunity to recover. How do we do that? Post-workout nutrition.
Where do I Start?
You’ll hear a lot about weight to gram ratios here and things may seem to get a bit complicated. There’s no need to get involved with any weighty mathematics and ratios here. Let’s just start with the basics: carbohydrates and protein. How much do you need? Just remember the number 15-20. You only need to make sure you get about 15-20 grams of protein in after your workout, and make sure to mirror that with an equal amount of carbs.
We know that some of you are thinking that eating carbs after a workout may defeat its purpose, but it’s quite the contrary. When you work out, you use glycogen, which is what your muscles use for energy, which in turn, allows them to contract and do all the work they do.
When you’re training, although you may be working to build muscle, you are actually breaking it down. While the ingestion of carbs post-workout helps with energy stores—and so does protein—the main reason we eat protein is to take care of and repair our muscles. Will you still be sore after your workout? Probably (if you worked hard enough). But the important thing is to remember that you’re recovering, preventing injury, and preparing for your next workout.
When do I start?
The rule of thumb is as soon as possible. While some say it’s best to get your post workout nutrition in within a couple hours of training, we think it’s most effective to fit in your fuel within 20-30 minutes.
How can I get it?
Luckily for us, living in the 21st century no longer requires us to forage for our food, or hunt, for that matter, and so we’ve done the searching for you. There are several different ways to make sure you get your carbs and protein in post-workout and depending on how much or little time you have, you’ve got options.
Because most of us are nearly too busy to fit in a workout, the next thing we have time to fit in is cooking an actual meal. And while we wish we could, liquid shakes are an option to get nutrition to your body directly after a workout so that you can begin refueling and recovering instantly. Protein powders are easy to find in most supermarkets and nutrition stores and will give you bang for your buck as they’ll last you many workouts. Because they can be stored in dry environments, they are easy to keep in your car, at your desk, or in your pantry at home, but beware, they can get a little messy on the go if they leak.
While time is an issue, so is space and storage. Who wants to keep a meal they’ve cooked in an unrefrigerated gym locker? That could get a little gross. Instead, a lot of people are opting to throw a protein bar in their gym bag, briefcase, or purse these days. No matter where you’re going after the gym, the bars are the perfect quick and efficient way to get the nutrients you need. Promax even makes sure that the recommended ratio (that you shouldn’t have to calculate) is made for you, so instead of doing the math, you can enjoy the taste. If you’re having trouble choosing a bar, we can help you decide based on what’s most crucial to you.
No, we aren’t kidding. While bars and liquids are efficient and sufficient, nothing is better than whole foods. Whether you take the time one day a week to prepare a dish in bulk or take an hour one day on the weekend after a workout, it’s nice to treat your body and your mind to a good, nutrient rich, sit down meal.
Make it a Habit
It’s difficult to make good nutrition a habit, but if you’re reading this article then you’re well on your way. Remember, if you were able to incorporate an exercise plan into your schedule, then you can surely incorporate a nutrition plan, too. When we eat well after our workout, it sets the tone for our meals for the rest of the day, and encourages us to continue our healthy habits. Enjoy your workouts, and after, remember to think proteins and carbs to replenish, recovery, and refuel.