Post workout nutrition has 3 specific purposes:
- Replenish glycogen
- Decrease protein breakdown
- Increase protein synthesis
Simply put, athletes/exercisers want to
- Replenish their energy stores
- Increase muscle size and/or muscle quality
- Repair the damage that was caused by the workout
It’s important to understand that during your workouts, you’re not making gains. Instead, you’re basically just tearing your body apart; you’re damaging tissues at a microlevel & using fuel. This sounds like it’s not a good thing but in fact it is. This is what ultimately makes us stronger, leaner, fitter, and more muscular BUT in the short term, it requires REPAIR.
The relationship between protein breakdown & protein synthesis represents the metabolic basis for muscle growth. During a workout, muscle protein synthesis is increased slightly (or unchanged) while protein breakdown is dramatically increased. So all in all, wer’re doing a lot more breaking down than building up throughout a workout.
“Window of Opportunity”
You have a small amount of time after your workout to re-fuel your body. This window opens immediately after your workout & closes pretty quickly. Research suggests that while protein synthesis (rebuilding) persists for about 48 hours after exercise, it’s most important to get post workout nutrition IMMEDIATELY, & within 2 hours after that.
If you feed your body properly during this window of opportunity, you’ll see benefits & results. If you delay (even by a couple hours) you’ll be decreasing glycogen stores and protein synthesis (rebuilding).
Finally, WHAT TO EAT…
Consume food or a meal consisting of:
- Protein (this is to help aid in protein synthesis)
- Carbohydrates (this is to help replace muscle glycogen & enhance the role of insulin in transporting nutrients into cells)
Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you have questions about specific foods/snacks to consume post-workout! : )
Reference: All About Post Workout Nutrition by Ryan Andrews