You put tremendous effort and time into working out and staying fit. You watch your diet and you are careful to eat the right things and stay away from junk foods. But are you paying attention to how this all fits into your post-workout routines?
Besides cooling off and rehydrating, many people do not give enough thought to what goes into the post-workout phase of a fitness program. What to eat post-workout can have a serious impact on how effective your workout is toward your fitness goals.
Post-workout nutrition will impact the way carbs and proteins interact with the work you have done. We know we need proteins to build muscle, for example. But getting these proteins at the right time for maximum benefit is another question. Where do these macronutrients fit in post-workout nutrition?
What are the purposes of post-workout nutrition? What are the benefits of post-workout nutrition? And how does post-workout nutrition affect the recovery process? This guide will give you the information you need to boost the benefits of your post-workout nutrition.
Post-workout nutrition purpose
To get a sense of how post-workout nutrition affects your body it helps to get an understanding of how exercise impacts your body. When you workout your muscles use glycogen as the main source of energy for physical exertion. In doing this, your muscles use up their glycogen stores. Also, some of your muscle tissue is broken down during exercise. This is just part of the process of exercise.
Post-workout, your body needs to replenish these glycogen stores and it requires protein to rebuild muscle and to facilitate muscle protein synthesis, which is ultimately what you are after. To do this your body requires proper post-workout nutrition.
Proper post-workout nutrition will accomplish the following things:
- Decrease muscle protein breakdown.
- Increase muscle protein synthesis.
- Restore glycogen stores.
- Enhance the recovery process.
While nearly all of us who exercise and work out pay close attention to general nutrition, many of us are not as careful about post-workout nutrition. This is a crucial stage in exercise.
The post-workout period is sometimes called “the window of opportunity.” This window is the point at which your muscles are primed and wide open to nutrients that help stimulate protein synthesis for increased muscle mass, glycogens for more efficient use of energy, and more efficient use of fats by your metabolism.
The post-workout of opportunity is the point where you are going to repair muscle, build new muscle, and gain strength. The lifting is only part of the process. What is more, the window of opportunity only lasts for about 2 hours after you work out. Muscle protein synthesis will go on for about 48 hours, but if you want to make the most out of the process of muscle protein synthesis you need to provide the proper nutrition for this to happen.
If you feed your body properly during the post-workout window of opportunity, you will get the benefits. If you do not pay attention to proper nutrition during this period, you will have lost the opportunity to maximize your workout. Even a delay of a couple of hours results in a significant loss of glycogen stores.
The benefits of post-workout nutrition include:
- Improved recovery.
- Decreased muscle soreness.
- Increased ability to build muscle.
- Improved immune function.
- Improved bone mass.
- Improved ability to utilize body fat.
- Enhanced muscle protein synthesis.
Post-workout nutrition comes down to the basics of the physiology of exercise. It is easy to see that you are making progress while working out. The burn of a good workout is proof enough. But the physiological mechanisms at work when we exercise continue long after we workout. To maximize the benefits of this physiology, we need to pay careful attention to post-workout nutrition.
So, what goes into proper post-workout nutrition? To answer this question, we need to look at the three macronutrients: proteins, carbs, and fats.
Exercise breaks down muscle tissue and this means breaking down proteins. The rate at which proteins break down depends on the type of exercise you do. What is important to note is that protein break down is an essential part of an exercise and even the most experienced athletes will experience protein breakdown.
Consuming adequate protein after a workout will provide your body with amino acids necessary to rebuild proteins and facilitate muscle protein synthesis. To do this you need to consume 0.14-0.23 grams of protein per pound of your body weight. You need to do this within that 2-hour window of opportunity post-workout.
The research shows that 20-30 grams of protein is about what you need to maximize recovery after a workout. You can easily get this protein through a protein shake or protein powder. These are available in plant-based forms even if you do not eat meat or meat products.
After a workout, your body will be depleted of glycogen stores. Glycogen is the fuel you need to exercise, and the best source of glycogen is carbohydrates. Again, the rate at which you use up glycogen depends on your workout. But this is another thing that even the fittest athletes will burn up. Glycogen is the fuel for exercise, and we use it up just like the fuel in a car.
Endurance sports use the most glycogen. Running, cycling, and swimming will use up more glycogen than bodybuilding. To properly restore your glycogen store you need to consume 0.5-0.7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. To do this properly you should replenish your glycogen store with carbs within 30 minutes of a workout.
What is more, insulin secretion helps promote glycogen synthesis, and this happens when you consume carbs and proteins together. A good source of both protein and carbs will further enhance your glycogen synthesis and your protein synthesis. You should shoot for about a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein in some form of a post-workout supplement.
Do not shy away from fats. We have come to view fats as something to be avoided, some fats enhance your post-workout meal. One study showed that whole milk was more beneficial than skim milk in promoting muscle protein synthesis.
Fats enhance the immune system throughout the entire body. Since an intense workout necessarily entails burning fats (this is often the main goal), it can be necessary to replenish some fat in your post-workout nutrition. It is, of course, important to have a low body fat percentage, but some fat is important for overall fitness.
While it is a good idea to limit the amount of fat you eat after a workout, a small amount of fat is beneficial to the post-workout nutrition process.
Post-workout recovery process
High-intensity workouts can have a serious impact on muscle tissue. This damage can reduce the ability of muscles to transport glucose through and to muscle tissue, and this reduces muscle function. The damage from working out also results in soreness and pain. The post-workout recovery process is essential to re-building this damage and it decreases the severity of soreness and pain.
Another part of the post-workout recovery process is restoring the glycogen stores that become depleted during a workout. Without proper post-workout nutrition that includes the necessary amount of carbohydrates, you will not have the energy sources necessary to continue a workout. The long-term result is a decrease in your ability to work out in ways that meet your fitness goals.
Finally, the post-workout recovery process involves flushing out the waste products that come with exercise. One of the principal waste products is lactate in the form of lactic acid. The buildup of lactate is one of the leading causes of soreness and pain. Proper post-workout nutrition boosts your body’s ability to eliminate these waste products.
Also remember, replenishing lost water and electrolytes can complete the picture and help you maximize the benefits of your workout.
What is the purpose of post-workout nutrition?
Proper post-workout nutrition replenishes proteins and glycogens that get broken down and exhausted in the course of physical exercise. This makes it possible to rebuild damaged muscle proteins and facilitate the process of muscle protein synthesis.
What is involved in the process of post-workout recovery?
When we exercise we break down muscle protein. What is more, glycogen is the fuel that makes it possible for us to work out. When we exercise we use up our stores of glycogen. The post-workout recovery process requires that we provide our bodies with enough protein and glycogen to rebuild what has been lost.
Is there an optimal time to focus on post-workout nutrition?
Yes, there is what is called the window of opportunity for post-workout nutrition. This is within 2 hours of working out. Getting proper nutrition within this window maximizes your post-workout recovery process.
What are the main features of post-workout nutrition?
The main things you need to pay attention to are proteins, carbs, and fats. These provide your body with the building blocks of muscle, with energy and with the nutrients necessary for these things to work together.
Natural Amino showcase
The best way to ensure that you get the most out of your post-workout nutrition is to use a supplement that contains everything you need to recover. Natural Amino from NF Sports provides the proper nutrients in the correct concentrations to nail the window of opportunity for ideal post-workout nutrition.
The BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are three essential amino acids. Essential means these are amino acids that your body can’t produce, and you must get them from your diet. BCAAs have the strongest link to supporting muscle growth and recovery.
The amounts of essential amino acids or BCAAs in a protein source typically determine how valuable that protein is for promoting muscle growth and recovery.
Consuming a concentrated amount of BCAAs will allow you to take in more of these key essential amino acids then what is readily available in food or protein and will help to speed recovery. Plus, with their rapid digestion time, you can consume them during a workout. Think of your protein as the building blocks and your BCAAs as the ‘signal’ to begin building.
The key amino acid amongst the BCAAs is leucine, it is primarily responsible in this signaling process. Natural Amino contains four grams of leucine per serving in a 4:1:1 ratio which is double the typical leucine ratio for BCAAs (typically 2:1:1).
We all know that proper nutrition is an essential part of staying fit. We are well-aware that to work out we need the right nutrients to get the results we are after. Anyone who takes their health and fitness seriously pays attention to what they eat and when they eat.
But, likely, many people are not aware of just how important post-workout nutrition can be. Making sure you get the right nutrition after a workout is more than just restocking spent calories. Post-workout nutrition is essential for your workout to matter in the ways you need.
Working out damages muscle tissue. This is about half the equation when it comes to a workout. The other half is giving your body the building blocks to not only rebuild muscle but also to increase muscle. To do this you need the right post-workout nutrition.
What is more, we burn up a lot of energy working out. This energy comes in the form of glycogen. The best source of glycogen is carbohydrates. After a solid workout, we are depleted of glycogen. The correct post-workout nutrition contains the right amount of carbs to replenish your glycogen store.
Overall, proper post-workout nutrition is an essential feature of post-workout recovery. We all know the feeling of sore muscles and the pain of high-intensity training The best way to alleviate this is with solid post-workout nutrition.
If you want to get the right post-workout nutrition from one source. Natural Amino from NF Sports is your best bet. This is one supplement for optimum post-workout nutrition.