I’ve been talking about pre-workout nutrition for the past couple of days so today I am going to move on and tell you why your post-workout meal is even more important than your pre-workout meal!
Everyone now knows, after reading Monday’s blog how our bodies need carbs for energy before you workout. Well after you do your intense workout your body is now without those carbs since you used them all up!
We have learned that when you exercise your body breaks down glycogen (sugar molecules that you can get from carbs that turn into energy), as well as some fat and some protein. Glycogen is the fuel for us to not only exercise but to also allow us to really push through to the next level, which is why you want your glycogen level to be high before you workout. But what happens after you are done working out?
After your exercise routine your bodies ability to rebuild the stored glycogen in your body is at its highest. Because of that you want to make sure you save your high glycemic foods to this time. Many people think that if you don’t eat after you’re finished working out then you are losing more fat molecules. Wrong. If your working out at a high intensity the glycogen stored in your body will decrease substantially. Your body will then turn to protein first and then fat for energy. The bad part is, is that you need that protein for your muscles that you just spent so much energy building up! You are then breaking down muscles sooner that your body breaks down fat for energy. When you think about it, it makes sense. Our bodies have learned to store fat for times when food isn’t available, just like a bear hibernating for winter, so of course fat would be broken down last.
If you starve your body after exercise you are going to be hit by a few negative consequences.
Firstly, if you don’t get enough high quality carbohydrates within 60 minutes after your workout then the glycogen stored in your body will not be at their optimal level next time you workout. This means your won’t have as much energy to workout next time, and we don’t want that right?
Secondly, it can also reduce your metabolism by not eating and it will begin to store more food as fat just incase it doesn’t get food again, just like a bear and hibernation.
So now that you know you should definitely eat after you workout, lets find out why carbs and proteins are the best choice!
The carbs you eat after you workout will be used by your body to restore muscle glycogen. Which means your body won’t break down your muscle tissue for the same purpose, like we learned above. Carbs also create a spike in insulin, which will help your body move important nutrients into your muscle tissues quicker.
Now the reason for making sure you get protein in your body is because protein stops your muscles from wasting away and helps in rebuilding their structure.
The best time to have this post-workout meal is within the next hour. Even better would be in the first 15 minutes after working out. The faster you can get carbs and proteins into your body the faster they can be broken down and the nutrients sent to your muscles. It is also best if your meal is in liquid form. Carbs and proteins found in solid foods take longer to break down and you want the nutrients to get to your muscles as fast as possible.
Wow lots of science talk! Tomorrow I’m going to give you a bunch of ideas for post-workout meals and smoothies you can make!
I didn’t have any fun pictures for this entry but here is a bowl of wild fresh blackberries I picked from my woods last night! These are the ones I use in my Blackberry and Banana Smoothie, the recipe is in yesterday’s post!