Dan and I were talking the other night and we thought it would be a good idea to go over a few facts and suggestions about post-workout nutrition.
When we exercise during boot camp, there are obvious aesthetic benefits, not to mention numerous health benefits. That’s why you’re there! You’re burning fat and increasing lean muscle. That’s just to name a few, but the benefits are countless. That being said, exercise puts stress on the body. After exercise you’ve depleted energy stores and caused minor damage to the muscles. Without the proper post-workout nutrition, our immune system can’t come in and fix everything so that your aerobic system improves and your muscles become stronger for the next workout.
Whether you are male or female, whether your main goal is to lose fat or build muscle (or both), you need to ingest protein and carbohydrates within an hour after working out. The sooner the better, as your muscles are primed for recovery during that hour window. This is why you may have seen Dan and me drink a shake during our stretching routines. It’s the quickest way to digest protein and carbs because it’s a liquid (30 mins to an hour), whereas a solid food meal can take 2-3 hours to reach your muscles. To make a shake, mix approximately 20-30 grams of protein powder (I use whey isolate, but you could use hemp, soy, pea, etc. ), with some quick digesting carbs (I use 25-50 grams of maltodextrin, but a banana blended in your shake would also work).
Should you wish to eat a whole food meal when you get home in lieu of a shake, by all means do it! I personally do both but most people will not need to do this and one whole food meal will suffice. Keep in mind that this meal should be as fat-free as possible. Although healthy fats are essential to your diet, eating them post-workout will slow digestion and affect the absorption of food. Basically, you want a protein (such as a lean meat, hummus, greek yogurt, etc.) and a carb (such as sweet potato, fruit, quinoa, etc.).
Here are some suggestions for your post-workout snack:
- fruit & cottage cheese
- spinach salad & lean chicken breast
- whole grain wrap & turkey
- egg omelet & peppers
- fish & sweet potato
- berries & greek yogurt
- rice & steak
- hummus & crackers
- beans & quinoa
Should you want any vegan options Dan is very knowledgeable. Hope this helps and let us know if you have any questions.
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