Most of us understand how important it is to have fuel in our body before a workout. Carbohydrates and glycogen (this is the energy source which is most frequently used for exercise) are needed so we will have the energy required for strength training.
But did you know that the meal you eat after exercising is of vital importance to your body’s recovery?
This post-exercise meal also helps improve your training capabilities, so let’s take a look at exactly what types of food you should be putting into your body after your strength training workout.
What You Need to Put in Your Body after Strength Training
The first thing you should do immediately after working out is to replace fluids. To determine how much water your body needs for proper functioning, you will need to weigh yourself both before and after your strength training regimen. Then simply drink 20 to 24 ounces of water (or a healthy sports drink) for every 1 pound of weight you lost.
Most athletes understand water is lost during exercise, but not everyone understands just how much is needed to hydrate the body after serious physical exertion.
We mentioned glycogen and carbs earlier, and they also need to be replaced post-workout. Glycogen is a form of glucose that serves as energy in humans, and it is stored in your muscles and liver. You already know that carbohydrates are little blocks of energy, and these two critical components to muscle growth and recovery are provided by eating 0.3 to 0.6 grams of carbohydrates for every pound of your body weight.
You need to eat this meal within two hours of endurance exercises and strength training to get the biggest benefit.
Try starchy vegetables such as squash or pumpkin, sweet potatoes or yams for your carbs. These vegetables are high in healthy antioxidants, and pack more carbohydrates per serving than other foods. Eating within two hours after your workout also helps decrease inflammation that can occur after intense strength training, and allows you to recover much faster.
Include Protein after Your Strength Training Sessions
Protein is also an important food to eat after strength training, and you want to combine protein with some carbohydrate within 30 minutes of ending your exercise. There are many protein supplements on the market that “fit the bill” perfectly well here.
This nearly doubles your insulin response, resulting in more stored glycogen, and quicker muscle development and recovery. You should shoot for a carbohydrate to protein ratio of approximately 4 to 1. Several studies have shown that this carbohydrate/protein intake soon after strength training often results in a 100% better glycogen storage in your muscles than eating carbs alone.
After strength training, you should eat whole wheat breads and rice, as well as the starchy vegetables mentioned above, for your carbohydrate and glycogen needs. Healthy proteins such as turkey and fish will deliver much-needed amino acids into your system, which held rebuild your muscle tissue quickly.
So just make sure to get plenty of fluids, proteins and carbohydrates in the right ratio after your strength training workout to guarantee faster and better results, and a healthier body. You’ll find more helpful tips on the right foods to eat before and after your bodybuilding exercise routines at http://myfitnessnut.com/nutrition in our nutrition section.