Our Toronto physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists sometimes work with a nutritionist to help our clients. They also field a steady stream of questions about nutrition and working out. What should you eat, and when?
There are many guides on what to eat before you work out. Here’s a look at what’s important to eat after you exercise.
Your goal is simple.
- Refuel: to replenish nutrients used up by exercising;
- Repair: provide the building blocks for muscle and soft tissue repair;
- Rehydrate: replenishing the hydration you’ve lost while exercising.
When it comes to timing, the best advice says to eat within 45 minutes after you finish your workout.
Carbohydrate is not a bad word. In fact, it’s the body’s natural energy source. Our bodies break carbs into glycogen, which is stored in our muscles.
- As you workout, you use up those stores;
- The more intense the activity, the longer/more often you exercise, the more you use;
- Endurance sports use up more glycogen than resistance training;
- Post workout, consuming carbohydrates helps you recover by replenishing those glycogen stores in your muscles.
Proteins, and the amino acids that form them, are the building blocks of muscle tissue. It only makes sense to consume protein-rich foods after a workout.
- As you exercise, your muscles undergo a process of breaking down;
- Protein helps the body rebuild, as well as prevent further breakdown.
After you stop exercising, rest is also needed for the repair process.
- As a general rule of thumb, aim to consume about 15 to 25 grams of protein post-workout, up to 40 grams for intense or repeated exercise;
- Your individual needs will depend on the type and duration of exercise;
- It’s particularly important if your focus is strength and resistance training.
Your Toronto physiotherapist or other sports medicine specialist can provide you with advice about your nutritional needs in relation to your workouts or sport, individualized to your situation.
It’s important to drink enough fluids before and during your workout. Sweating depletes the body of moisture, and recovery post-workout must also include replenishing liquids.
- Perspiration uses up the body’s natural levels of hydration;
- Muscle hydration is essential to the process of muscle protein synthesis, which rebuilds muscle tissue.
How much should you drink? It depends on how hard you’ve exercised.
- For strenuous workouts, you can weigh yourself before and after exercise;
- Drink 16 ounces of water for every pound that you’ve lost.
Quick Snack Ideas
The ideal post-workout snack combines at least two of the nutritional components you need. Here are some ideas you can put together quickly, and that store well for a trip to the gym.
- Apples and peanut butter;
- Whole grain granola with fruit and Greek yogourt
- A veggie or cheese omelette;
- Cottage cheese and fruit;
- Whole grain crackers and cheese;
- Peanut butter and banana on whole grain toast;
- Hummus and pita chips;
- Avocado on whole grain toast;
- Fruit, dates, and almonds or other nuts;
- Almond or other nut butter on rice cakes;
- Lean meats on whole grain bread – such as a turkey or tuna sandwich with cheese and apple slices.
Your body isn’t just recovering, it’s rebuilding, and that process helps build muscle. Fuelling your recovery the right way means optimizing muscle protein synthesis. If you have any questions about what to eat for your workouts, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto registered dietitian and sports dietitian, physiotherapists, chiropractors, or other sports medicine specialists for a consultation today.
Click here to learn more about Ben Sit, Registered Dietitian and Sports Dietitian.