Doyou train hard at the gym but are not getting the results you want? Or deserve? Your post-workout nutrition is arguablyone of the most important times to be fuelling your body correctly. Paying particular attention to your nutritionimmediately after a training session has been shown to positively effectsubsequent exercise performance. Thiscan be particularly beneficial for those of you who are training in one or moresessions a day or, on consecutive days.
Firstof all, let’s hit the science (I promise it will be quick and easy).
Whenyou are exercising you are essentially putting your body in an inflammatory andslightly stressful state. During resistance training, you are putting littlemicro tears in your muscles. However, itis only in your RECOVERY where you will make all of your gains! This is why itis extremely important to be putting the RIGHT fuel back in to your body.
Thegoals of your post workout nutrition is to:
1. Adequatelyrehydrate your body
2. Replenishyour muscle glycogen
3. Deliverprotein to assist with muscle repair and synthesis
Theseare all ESSENTIAL to be able to have you training at your best, reduce mentaland muscle fatigue and assist with hitting any performance goals.
Putting this all together, here are afew strategies to help you nail your post workout!
1. Carbohydratesare your best friends post-workout. During exercise, carbohydrates are theprimary and preferred source of fuel for your muscles. To optimise performancein the gym (and ESPECIALLY if your goal is to ‘gain muscle’ or ‘tone-up’, then youneed to be having adequate carbohydrate into your post-workout nutrition. Carbohydratesinclude fruits, vegetables, breads and grains.
2.Protein is your next non-negotiable. To maximise muscle protein synthesis,muscle recovery and adaptation, consuming essential amino acids, in particularleucine, in the immediate recovery period, is essential. The currentrecommendation from Sports Dietitians Australia is 20-30g of protein (or anequivalent of 9g of essential amino acids) in the first hours of post exerciserecovery.
3.Hydrate!! Most people do not hydrate adequately. Think about how much sweat youhave potentially lost during a workout, and especially in the summer! You needto be having at least 1.5 times the amount of sweat LOST during the session,over the 4-6 hours following a session. Thismay be hard to calculate with precision (without hopping on and off the scaleevery day); therefore, the main strategy is to take water with you at EVERYsession. Keep in mind, this is still as importantin the cooler months. Aim to drink at least 600ml post session (<1L if it isa cardio-based session). The average water recommendation for the average adultis ~2-3L per day.
So, puttingthis together, what does this look like?
Research has shown that the ingestion ofprotein (0.2 – 0.4g/kg/hour) with carbohydrate (0.8g/kg/hour) has greatbenefits to recovery (Sports Dietitian Australia).
Now,you may be thinking, what does this actually mean? Well, let’s take the average70kg athlete. Post-workout might looklike:
· Oneserve whey-derived protein shake + 300ml low fat milk and 600ml sports drink
· Asalad roll with 60g lean sandwich meat and a banana (Sports DietitiansAustralia).
· 2large slices of whole meal toast with cottage cheese (100g) + one serve of whey-derivedprotein shake
· Ahomemade Omelette (3 eggs) filled with vegetables (1/2 cup cooked starchyvegetables), served with 2 slices of bread topped with 1 Tblsp. hummus on each
· Chicken(60g cooked), salad, spinach on a wholegrain wrap + a small banana
Try implementing these few tips afteryour next session to optimise your hard work in the gym!