See, muscles store excess energy in the form of glycogen and protein and, when you work out, the body burns fuel from your pre-workout meal, then it breaks down glycogen stored in muscles. Within a few hours of working out, muscle protein drops and muscles begin to break down. However, within a 45-minute window, your body is the most responsive with absorbing carbohydrates and protein. The best foods to eat include;
It has double the amount of protein compared to regular yogurt and is a great source of carbohydrates. Mix it with cereal or fruit.
Wholegrain wraps are loaded with wholesome carbohydrates. Make yourself a turkey or chicken sandwich and add a bowl of soup on the side. This is a particularly great meal if you work out during your lunch break.
Cereal is good any time of day: In the morning for breakfast or later in the day as a snack. Select a high protein, high fiber cereal. It’s perfect for reloading the muscle energy stores.
Here are some rules to follow to ensure you don’t cancel out the benefits of working out.
Eat within 30 to 60 minutes after exercise. If you’ve had a particularly tough workout, try to eat a “recovery” meal as soon as possible. Exercise puts stress on your muscles, joints, and bones, and your body “uses up” nutrients during workouts; so post-exercise foods are all about putting back what you’ve lost, and providing the raw materials needed for repair and healing.
Think beyond proteins. Your body needs a balanced diet to recover.
Don’t overcompensate. Do not overestimate how much extra food you “earned” working out. It’s unbelievably easy to “eat back” all of what you’ve burned.
Rehydrate before and after exercise. Also monitor the colour of your urine—if you’re well hydrated it should be pale if not, it will be yellow.
Fruits are not only loaded with carbohydrates, they also contain enzymes to help your body break down nutrients so they can be delivered to your tired muscles. Pineapple is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties to help your muscles recover.
Fat is not that bad
Many people think that eating fat after a workout slows down digestion and inhibits the absorption of nutrients.
While fat might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal, it will not reduce its benefits.
For example, a study showed that whole milk was more effective at promoting muscle growth after a workout than skim milk.
Moreover, another study showed that even when ingesting a high-fat meal (45 per cent energy from fat) after working out, muscle glycogen synthesis was not affected.
It might be a good idea to limit the amount of fat you eat after exercise, but having some fat in your post-workout meal will not affect your recovery. (Compiled from www.h ealthline.com)
This article was first published in Daily Nation.