During the first part of this two part blog installment, we talked about pre-workout nutrition. Since the title of the post is “Pre- and Post-workout Nutrition”, we’ll talk about post-workout nutrition this time.
When dealing with post-workout nutrition there is still a window of opportunity to get nutrients into the body. Different research suggests different protocols, but you should probably aim for immediately after workout cessation up to 30 minutes later. However, it doesn’t stop with just that meal! Some endurance exercise recovery protocols suggest ingesting nutrients for every 30 minutes for up to 5 hours after exercise, while ingesting 1.2 g of carbs per kilogram of body weight. I’m roughly 90-93 kg, so for me that would mean 108 grams of carbs.
Strength training doesn’t deplete the body’s glycogen stores (stored sugar equivalent to starch in plants) quite as badly as endurance training, however carbs are still very important for recovery and growth after training and should be taken in with protein. The same ratios apply to post-workout nutrition as pre-workout nutrition, 2:1 carb to protein ratio for strength and power athletes with protein intake being anywhere from o.25g-0.5g per kg of body weight, 3:1 for team sport athletes and 4:1 for endurance athletes. If you only can pick carbs or protein (I’m not sure why that would happen), pick protein. Research has shown protein to be more effective for recovery as a stand alone nutrient than carbs.
It’s important to remember that recovery doesn’t stop with the post-training meal. Eating a meal similar in nutrient make up within the next two hours is also advisable. Also, continue to eat every few hours for the rest of the day. If you train in the evening, it might not be as easy; but if you train in the morning or mid-day, keep a steady flow of nutrients coming in for the rest of the day.
Keep in mind, I’m not a nutrionist (yet) or registered dietician. This is simply based on research that I have done and what has worked for me in the past.
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