You just finished a great workout! Your heart rate was elevated, you pumped some iron, strengthened your bones. In other words, you feel good.
You know that you should eat 30-60 minutes after you workout, but you don't know what to eat.
Let's play a game. The best choice to eat after a workout is:
1. A grilled cheese sandwich
2. Egg whites + veggies
3. 1 scoop whey protein + 1/2 bagel
4. Fruit salad
If you said #3 then you are abso-freaking-loutely correct. High five for you!
After you workout, you have a 30-60 minute where your body is primed to refuel. Your muscle's are starving for energy (glucose) and your insulin receptors are primed and ready to go.
A 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is recommended to best refuel your body.
Also because your body's insulin sensitivity is increased (in a good way), you can have some of the "carbs" that are typically labeled as "bad". Think white bread, rice, bagels.
Bodybuilders are known to down white bread and jelly after a hard workout. Why? Since the bread is absorbed with lightening speed the energy (glucose) can get into your cells faster and start recovery.
Typically, food causing a quick insulin response......okay...let me slow down.
You might be reading and thinking, "honey I have no idea what an insulin response is". And that's okay. You don't have to understand all the science to know how to fuel up. But here it is in a nut shell:
When you eat food containing carbohydrates your body breaks it down into monosaccharides, namely glucose. The glucose travels to your liver where it's released into your blood stream. The presence of glucose in the bloodstream also signals your pancreas to release insulin, which signals your cells to take up this new, fresh glucose. The glucose is then used by the cells. It's used in the muscles to aid in their recovery and replenishment of glycogen (stored muscle energy). By eating white bread, something that gets into the bloodstream very quickly, your muscles can start that recovery much faster. That's also why, on the flip side, it's recommended to typically eat slower-digesting whole grain carbs that don't cause such a sharp rise in blood sugar. But when we're talking post-workout the high-glycemic carbohydrates are okay!
Wow. Let's take a breath. And move on.....
I think it's been established that we need to eat after we workout. But we still need to know what's best. Glucose. Check. Carbs. Check. Protein. Check.
If performing prolonged exercise, aim for 1.5 grams of carbohydrate for every kilogram of bodyweight. For me at 133, that's about 60g of carbs.
I typically go for a smoothie if I'm at home or a Mix1 shake when I'm out and about. Thanks to MizFitOnline, I just discovered the joy of freezing my shake beforehand and enjoying an ice cream like post-workout treat.
- Drink plenty of fluids after your workout too, duh!
- I recommend whey protein, because it's the most researched and consistently shows high levels of protein synthesis. New research also shows good results with a whey + soy protein blend.
- I didn't recommend a lot of fruit, because fructose isn't absorbed as fast as glucose. It's perfectly fine to have fruit post-workout, but I would pair it with a starchy carb too.
I hope you have some great ideas about how to fuel up after your next workout.
What's your favorite post-workout snack?
Love and yes whey,
Carissa & Kyle