When it comes to workout nutrition, a lot of people think about what they should (or shouldn’t) eat before a workout. No one wants to get halfway through a workout and regret that pre-workout snack or meal. And while it’s true that what you eat pre-workout can have an effect on your training, your post-workout nutrition matters just as much if not more.
The food you eat post-workout plays an essential role in your fitness and performance, as well as recovery. More specifically, the protein and carbs you take in directly after a workout can make a significant difference. So why are protein and carbs a must?
Protein and Carbs
After a workout, your body needs quality sources of both protein and carbs. Protein intake after a workout will decrease muscle protein breakdown and increase muscle protein synthesis. In other words, eating protein will prevent your muscles from breaking down as much while supplying your body with the materials it needs to rebuild and repair.
As far as carbohydrates go, eating carbs post-workout contributes to restoring glycogen in your muscles. When your workouts last forty-five minutes to an hour (or more), your body depletes the glycogen that’s stored within your muscles. Getting in carbs after any workout, but particularly after a higher-intensity workout, helps your body replenish those glycogen stores.
Limiting muscle breakdown, promoting muscle repair, and replenishing glycogen stores all lead to quality recovery after a workout.
The best time to eat protein and carbohydrates is immediately after a workout. Once your workout is over, the last thing on your mind might be eating some food. But right after a workout is actually when your body is most able to accept and use protein and carbs. This optimal window lasts about two hours. Anything beyond this ideal window means less protein synthesis and glycogen storage.
Benefits of Good Post-Workout Nutrition
Eating protein and carbs right after a workout promotes good recovery. Rather than showing up for your next workout still feeling fatigued or run down, your body will have had the nutrients needed to repair itself. At the same time, promoting good recovery through your post-workout tends to mean less muscle soreness, as well as better immune function.
At Cannon Fitness and Performance in Houston, we offer a variety of programs, including nutrition coaching. And if you have specific body composition goals, we can help.
To learn more about how to get started with any of our programs, contact us today.