Recovery Nutrition

You’ve left the gym, it’s time to refuel.  Don’t let all of your hard work go to waste.  Make the right choices!! Many overlook the importance of refueling post-WOD. It may be the most important meal you eat. I am certain that no one is trying to break down their muscle mass and get weaker. Our bodies build strength and muscle by breaking down existing muscle and rebuilding it. When you resistance train and perform high intensity workouts (what we do every day) you break down your muscle and deplete your glycogen stores. Your recovery nutrition is key in order to build muscle, effectively replenish energy stores, and be primed for your next workout.

Timing is everything. Exercise puts serious demands on the body. It depletes the muscles of their glycogen stores and breaks down muscle tissue. Immediately following an exercise bout your muscles are like a nutrient sponge, but this “GAINZ window” closes quickly. Take advantage of it and refuel within an hour of finishing your workout. Refueling happens at a much slower rate once this window closes and your muscles will not have received the adequate nutrients to rebuild. This, in turn, puts you in a catabolic state instead of the anabolic state we are after.

As important as it is to eat as soon as you can upon completion of your workout, what you choose to eat is equally important. Your body requires protein and carbohydrates to undo the damage we have done. Protein intake will help to optimize muscle repair and growth as well as stimulate faster glycogen replacement.  Ingesting carbohydrates after training is critical in replenishing glycogen stores and initiating muscle glycogen synthesis. If we don’t replenish these stores your training performance can be compromised in future sessions.  Recommendations for the exact ratio will depend largely on the activity performed, but generally one would consume protein (0.2-0.4g/kg of body weight) and carbohydrates together (around 0.8g/kg of body weight).

Intense training has been shown to compromise immune system function for several hours during and following exercise.  Maintaining adequate glycogen stores pre and post workout has been shown to lessen the disturbance of immune system markers as the consumption of carbohydrates can help reduce the bodies stress hormone response to exercise.

Generally, I would advise you to eat real food to aid in recovery as frequently as possible to meet the daily nutritional needs of essential vitamins and minerals, and also stock up on much needed antioxidants like vitamins C and E that help reduce oxidization caused from the stress of exercise.  When real food isn’t an option whey protein is a superior protein choice due to its ability to digest more rapidly, thereby increasing protein synthesis.

To sum up, don’t skimp on your post workout nutrition.  Eat something as soon as possible following your workout.  Make sure to choose good quality protein and unrefined carbohydrates. This supplies your body with much needed nutrients so that you get the most out of every training session.

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Get strong, stay strong


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