Post Workout Nutrition
The post workout meal of someone who exercises is probably the most important meal of the day. The main reason for this is that when you finish with a vigorous and intense workout, you are entering a catabolic state in which the glycogen in your muscles is depleted and cortisol levels are beginning to break down muscle tissue in excess. These post workout conditions left to go on for very long are not good for your body. The only way to reverse this catabolic state and to promote an anabolic state is to choose a meal with carbs that you can digest quickly. This will have the effect of replenishing your muscle glycogen and quickly digest protein in order to provide the amino acids that your body needs to quickly start muscle repair.
A post workout meal that is easy to digest will provide a surge of carbs and amino acids that gives rise to a spike in insulin from the pancreas and helps inject nutrients into muscle cells. A post workout meal should generally have about 300 – 500 calories in order to get the best response. A woman who weight 54 kgs may only need a 300 calorie meal while a male weighing 90 kgs may need a 500 calories post-workout meal. The post workout meal should also contain proteins and carbs in the ratio of Carbs: Protein 2:1 or 4:1. While most of the meals that you consume during the day must contain a source of healthy fats, you must keep the fat content of your post-workout meals to a bare minimum because fat slows down the absorption of a meal which is exactly the opposite of what you want after a grueling workout.
Now when it comes to deciding what you will have post your workout, please understand that you do not have to have any of those expensive post-workout supplements that the Billion dollar supplements industry will have you believe. As any Nutritionist worth her salt will tell you, natural is always best! What you can have instead is target easily digestible natural carbs such as bananas, pineapples, raisins or honey to give you an insulin response that will promote glycogen replenishment in your muscles and will promote an anabolic muscle building effect. The best source of quickly digestible protein is a good quality whey protein isolate, fat free or low fat yoghurt or even fat free or low fat ricotta cheese. Ricotta cheese is mostly whey protein, so it digests fast. Avoid cottage cheese post your workout though because it is mostly casein and is slow to digest and would not be so good as a post-workout meal even though its great to have at other times in the day. Below are a couple of delicious post-workout smoothies that will kickstart your recovery process.
Post Workout Smoothies
Chocolate Banana – blend together 1 cup water, ½ cup skim milk, one and a half frozen bananas, 2 tbsp organic maple syrup, and 30 grams chocolate whey protein powder – 38 g prot, 72 g carb, 0.5 g fat, 440 calories.
Pineapple Vanilla – blend together 1 cup water, ½ cup vanilla yogurt, one cup frozen pineapples, 2 tbsp honey (preferably raw), and 30 grams vanilla whey protein powder – 35 g prot, 71 g carb, 0.5 g fat, 425 calories.
Keep in mind that when you want to lose body weight, your post workout meals must have the opposite characteristics of the other meals that you have during the day. While I mentioned that the post-workout meals must have quick and high glycemic index carbs along with quickly digested proteins and fats, all the other meals of the day must be comprised of low glycemic index, slow release carbs and proteins and lots of healthy fats. Follow these Diet and Nutrition Strategies and and you can achieve a lean and toned body with low body fat percentage. Another great thing about post-workout meals is that you can satisfy your sweet cravings because this is the only time in the day when you can get away with eating extra sugars without it adding to your belly. All of it goes straight to your muscles! So go enjoy the fruits of your labour!
Author – Krupa Parekh
Krupa is a dietician and nutritionist based in Mumbai and consults at our Andheri West Centre for our clients in Diabetes and Obesity Management, Detoxification therapy and specializes in creating bespoke Nutrition plans for kids, teenagers and adults by integrating correct food habits around one’s lifestyle. Read more about Krupa here – http://www.wellintra.com/diet-and-nutrition/. You can call on 98206 07875 for weight gain or weight loss diet consultation with Krupa.