We always see gym goers walking around with their blender bottles filled with protein, chugging away after their workout is complete. Is it REALLY necessary to refuel that soon after your workout though? The answer is…YES! One hour post workout is a very important window of time. Your body is primed and ready to refuel and build muscle. Make sure you ingest at least 10-30g of protein within the hour after your workout. During a challenging strength training session, your muscle fibers actually tear. The protein will go directly towards repair, and will strengthen the fibers so they are better prepared for next time; this is how we build muscle!
Your muscles also use stored carbohydrate, or glycogen, for fuel for both the cardio and strength portions of your workout. Ingesting carbohydrates within the 1-hour post-workout period is also a good idea to help refuel the glycogen stored in the muscles. If you miss this window, the muscles will not re-fuel appropriately and will be a little less energetic next time. Consuming carbohydrates after the 1-hour window will be stored elsewhere and possibly as fat. If it was a vigorous workout, then consume between 10 and 40g of carbohydrate post-workout. Worried about your waistline? Keep your carb intake closer to the 10g amount.
Now that you know you should be eating after your workout, do you know what you should be eating? A protein shake is a great post-workout choice. It gives you plenty of protein (anywhere from 10-30g) and a good mix of ideally complex carbs if you add fruits. This will have you fueled and ready to go! Protein bars, greek yogurt, or a fruit (apples, bananas) with a small scoop of peanut butter are also quick and nutritious choices. Beware of protein bars or yogurts that are sugar laden though!
If you are drenched with sweat after your workout, make sure to refill your electrolytes as well. Plain water is not enough. Something like a G2 will help bring your electrolytes back in balance.
In a pinch and need something to grab after your workout at Heuser? Our River Road location is now offering a variety of protein shakes, bars, and nuts in the office! Stop by the front desk or ask your trainer for your favorite selection!