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Best Post Workout Fuel

Do you find yourself wondering what you should consume after your workout each day?

Whether you choose to do an endurance or strength-training workout, it is essential that you make post-workout nutrition a priority; the post-workout period is the time to optimize on your performance and it will influence your body’s recovery process.

 

Woman putting protein into bottle

4 Factors that Affect the Utility of Post-Workout Meals

  • Training status
  • Exercise duration
  • Number of workouts per day
  • Hydration status

Today we are going to share with some key nutrients to include post-workout as well as providing you with some meal and snack ideas.

 

Pile of bread in basket

Carbohydrates

Consuming carbohydrates after a workout provides muscular glycogen and accelerates protein synthesis. Choosing foods high in glycemic index has been seen to increase muscle mass significantly post-exercise as high-glycemic index foods are rapidly digested and available to the blood stream.1 Consuming high glycemic index meals has also been seen to extend sleep duration and sleep efficiency. 

5 High Glycemic Index Foods

  • Baked potato
  • White bread
  • Watermelon
  • White rice
  • Glucose

Bowl with tofu, eggs, edamame, and tomato

Protein

The current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for healthy individuals is 0.8 g/kg/day. However, more research indicates that a protein intake of at least 1.4–1.6 g/kg/day is more suitable for individuals who want to optimize their training and performance levels.1

It is important to include a protein source with amino acids as they are the building blocks of protein. Studies have shown that consuming essential amino acids directly after working out improves protein synthesis.1There are 20 amino acids, with 11 non-essential that can be made by the body and 9 essential that our bodies cannot produce; therefore, we must then obtain these sources through whole-food or supplements.

6 Food Sources with Essential Amino Acids

  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Edamame
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Meat

Protein + Carbohydrates

Recent research has revealed the synergistic effect between carbohydrates and protein.

The combination of protein and carbohydrate post-workout may decrease rates of muscle protein breakdown (MPB) and increase rates of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) which can help your body shift to the building phase of protein balance.

 

Person stretching next to weights and a Rise Bar

6 Post-workout Snack Ideas

  • Rise Bar (*Honey, used in our whey protein bars contains antioxidants that can prevent free radical damage and aid in muscle recovery!)
  • Blueberry banana protein smoothie
  • Rice cake with almond butter, banana, and hemp seeds
  • Greek yogurt with strawberries and flax seeds
  • Blueberry protein chia pudding
  • Hard-boiled eggs with avocado and nutritional yeast 

 

Meal prep in jars

7 Post-workout Meal Ideas

  • Vegan quinoa, sweet potato, and grilled tofu bowl
  • Chicken and black bean burrito bowl
  • Grilled salmon with brown rice, zucchini, and chickpeas
  • Brown rice, tempeh, and broccoli Stir-Fry
  • Tofu scramble with bell peppers, mushrooms, and potatoes
  • Overnight protein berry banana oatmeal
  • Baked potatoes with ground turkey and mixed vegetables

Exercise is an important component to living a healthy lifestyle, but making sure that you are pairing your exercise routine with proper nutrition is equally as important!

Remember to prioritize protein and also add in some carbohydrate sources to your post-workout snacks or meals!

 

 

References:

  1. Caminha, T. M., Godinho, W. D., Lopes, J. M., Feitoza, M. D., Araújo, A. B., Soares, P. M., & Machado, A. A. (2017). Aining Post-Workout Eating Habits Aiming Muscle Hypertrophy of Young Adults at two Gyms in Fortaleza-Ce. IOSR Journal of Sports and Physical Education, 4(1), 01-05. doi:10.9790/6737-0401010105
  2. Cintineo, H. P., Arent, M. A., Antonio, J., & Arent, S. M. (2018). Effects of Protein Supplementation on Performance and Recovery in Resistance and Endurance Training. Frontiers in Nutrition, 5. doi:10.3389/fnut.2018.00083
  3. Stark, M., Lukaszuk, J., Prawitz, A., & Salacinski, A. (2012). Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 54. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-54
  4. Vlahoyiannis, A., Aphamis, G., Andreou, E., Samoutis, G., Sakkas, G., & Giannaki, C. (2018). Effects of High vs. Low Glycemic Index of Post-Exercise Meals on Sleep and Exercise Performance: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Counterbalanced Polysomnographic Study. Nutrients, 10(11), 1795. doi:10.3390/nu10111795

 

Author: Karli McCarthy
Cal Poly, SLO Nutrition Student
@kale_n_it_karli 

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