Post-Workout Nutrition Confusion? You are not alone! Flipping through every magazine, you can read a different “must do” from varies gurus about the perfect post-workout food! From the most popular “you must have a protein shake within 5 minutes” to newer “fasting is the way to go” for fat loss. There is ample reasons to be more than slightly confused.
So are you ready to dispel some myths & clarify what’s best for YOU? Here goes:
I work with a wide array of clients who are all striving towards different goals:
– Increased Athletic Performance
– Increased Cardiovascular Function
– Maintaining Bone Density
All awesome reasons to hit the gym!! One of the most common questions every gym goer asks upon starting a new routine is “what should I eat post workout?”. A protein shake? Carbs? No Carbs? How About Healthy Fat?
These answers all depend on my cliche phrase of who are you & what are your goals! The intensity of your workout, when you ate last, your goals in the workout/recovery & most importantly overall daily intake factor in to the post workout equation. So I thought I would quickly breakdown a few different scenarios of IF, HOW & WHY you need to be concerned with your post sweat-fest intake.
~ The General Fat Loss Client:
Post yoga session, no immediate refuel needed.
IF: you are a beginner fitness enthusiast looking to lose fat, working out at a low-moderate intensity level (which may feel strenuous to you but is mostly bodyweight/cardio/lower intensity lifting) & are eating an adequate total daily caloric intake.
THEN: The answer is no, you don’t need to slam a shake or even eat within that often touted 30-45min post workout window. You already have enough glycogen in your system & haven’t solicited a demanding enough physical output to need to replenish immediately. Eat your next meal as normal & make sure it’s balanced with protein to maintain muscle.
~ Advance Fat Loss Client:
IF: you are an intermediate to advanced lifter, runner or whatever your workout of choice is & are looking to lose a bit of fat while maintaining your workout intensity.
THEN: It probably would be safe to fit in some type of post workout fuel just as a “can’t hurt” measure. Will you lose all your gains if you don’t? Definitely not. Simply on the more intense training days, you should aim to maintain all of your lean muscle mass. Therefore a safety net of protein post-training can’t hurt. Now this doesn’t mean you need to keep your shaker bottle glued to you at the gym. It just means have a small snack or plan to eat your normal next meal within an hour after training.
Post Interval Cardio, I skip & enjoy my next meal.
WHAT: This is somewhat dependent on your sport/performance goals. In general always include a solid source of protein! Carbs & fats are variable based on the activity. If you find yourself losing strength, muscle, have another intense workout the same day or are not recovering well, include carbohydrates. If you have no energy issues or any of the above symptoms, just consuming protein for fat loss might be the ticket.
What about Fat? It’s not necessary & does slow down the replenishment of nutrients from protein & carbohydrates to your muscles. Which is why I actually recommend healthy fat consumption for most meals because we want slow absorption of food to sustain our hunger for a longer period of time. So if your post-workout nutrition is a meal that is suppose to sustain you for multiple hours? Go ahead & include that healthy fat from cooking oils, avocado, nuts etc. That way you are not ravenous an hour later. If the food you consume post workout is just a snack to get you through for an hour or so? Skip the fat.
~ Athlete or Musclie Building:
IF: Top priority is muscle building or athletic performance such as training for a race, then yes I always recommend eating within the notorious post-workout window to be safe.
post heavy lifting, I always refuel
WHAT: Choose a snack or meal based on a close to equal ratio of protein to carbohydrates to quickly replenish glycogen stores to muscle. The best post-workout carbs comes from quick metabolizing sources of glucose, such as starchy sources like oats, sweet potato, quinoa, yam, or rice. That plus your standard protein shake or a real food meal like chicken breast + starchy carbs is a great way to make sure you are building muscle & fully recovering to perform optimally next workout. This is a time to skip the fat if you are concerned with refueling as quickly as possible. As mentioned, healthy fats are much needed but do slow absorption rates. So have a quick post workout shake & then include healthy fat in your next meal.
Ok that that was a bit science heavy so heres a simple recap:
~ Newbie Fat Loss Client: No need for immediate post workout meal. Eat next meal per normal.
~ Advanced Fat Loss Client: Aim for protein only post workout UNLESS performance/energy suffers OR if it’s a full meal meant to sustain you. If that’s the case, a balanced healthy meal of protein, some carbs & a little healthy fat is best to keep you from being ravenous a few hours later.
~ Performance Athletic or Muscle Building: Consume protein & carbs within 45 min to an hour post workout. Skip the fat on this snack.
My Go-To Smoothie Formula:
- 1 scoop high quality protein powder (or 6oz plain greek yogurt/cottage cheese)
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/2c frozen berries
- 1c unsweetened almond milk
- 2 handfuls of spinach
Optional Add Ins: for a meal I add healthy fats such as ground flax, avocado or 1tbsp nut butter.
QUESTIONS? Just ask!! Want more tips, tricks & exclusive FREE content? Don’t miss out on a thing, click here to sign up for bi-weekly news. Never any junk!Tags
, Fat Loss