After a workout out, eating might be the last thing on your mind. You’re feeling energized, fit and fantastic but if you don’t utilize the post-workout period your muscles need to refuel, most of your hard work goes to waste. During exercise your muscles can become depleted of important nutrients needed to rebuild and develop stronger, more dense muscle tissue. Post-exercise nutrition is critical to the repair of muscle tissues, and replenishing glycogen stores means more to your body than you might think. Nutritionist recommend ample protein combined with carbohydrates to provide your body a fast-acting energy supply in order to achieve body composition goals.
Ever wonder how professional bodybuilders and pro athletes are able to continually develop new, lean muscle? Their secret may be the supplements, but the reality is that meals are one of the most important factors in maintaining muscle mass and lean muscle development. In order to get the optimal results from workouts, your body has to turn glycogen and protein deficits into surpluses immediately after working out to keep the body from pulling these nutrients from body stores. This process is time-sensitive so the sooner you eat after a workout, the faster your muscles will respond. Muscle cells are highly sensitive to insulin (a hormone involved in the transport of glucose, and protein into the muscle cell). This stage, or “window” is known as facilitated diffusion.
For a few tips on post-workout meals, watch this short video:
Post-Workout Snack for Weight Loss
Within 30 minutes of your workout, consume fast-acting protein. Protein shakes that contain a combination of whey and casein along with BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) to help build muscle. Did you know that muscle burns more calories than fat in the body? By making the most of this window, you can burn more calories during the day even when you are sitting at your desk.
Post-Workout Snack for Muscle Building
Within 15-30 minutes of your workout, consume a fast-acting protein along with high-glycemic carbohydrates and be sure that your protein contains essential amino acids, called BCAAs.
During the time right after a workout, your body is a sponge for nutrients, absorbing what you put back in at a faster rate. Since during the post-training window your body goes into a hypoglycemic state where blood sugar and insulin levels are dramatically decreased, thus carbohydrates are important to include in your post-workout snack.(1) Here are a few tasty post-workout snack ideas that are high-protein, and include carbohydrates to help you maximize the after-exercise nutrient window.
Try this Green Tea Kiwi-Berry Smoothie for a delicious post-workout snack. It contains essential fats, protein and carbohydrates from fruit to give you energy, plus antioxidants to help prevent and repair any cellular damage caused by free radicals.
This Pick-Me-Up Smoothie contains everything you need to replenish your body after a workout. Add a tablespoon of peanut butter, or your favorite nut butter for extra protein, and essential fats.
If you need a little more in your tummy after training, you can prepare these No-Bake Bars for natural, lasting energy and post-workout nutrient support. Try the Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars!
References: The Window of Opportunity