POST-EXERCISE NUTRITION GOALS
Updated: Feb 2
- By Annie Bothma
Nutrient timing can help support your training and allow you to achieve your goals. During exercise we lose fluids and electrolytes, we decrease our muscle glycogen storage and we stress our muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, heart and lungs! Stressing the body needs to be followed with proper recovery to ensure you can reap the rewards of your hard work. This means not only recovering by allowing your body and mind sufficient downtime and rest before you stress it again, but also requires putting back the nutrients you took out of it.
The three biggest nutrition goals that need to be achieved ideally within the first few hours after finishing your workout is to:
1. Rehydrate sufficiently with enough fluids and electrolytes to replace the fluid loss during exercise and achieve an optimal electrolyte balance again in the body.
2. Refuel with carbohydrates to ensure you restock your glycogen storage, stabilize your blood sugar levels and ensure adequate energy for the nervous system and other bodily functions.
3. Repair by consuming a high-quality protein source to alleviate muscle soreness, combat muscle damage, ensure optimal MPS, promote adaptation and speed-up recovery.
REHYDRATE: FLUIDS AND ELECTROLYTES
Consume sufficient fluids to restore sweat loss from training.
Replace the key electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride & calcium.
Avoid large quantities of plain water to prevent hyponatremia.
Consume an electrolyte beverage instead or add extra salt to your food.
Consume fruits or vegetables with a high fluid content to help restore your fluid balance. For example, watermelon or citrus fruits.
Replenish glycogen stores with carbohydrates.
Refuel as soon as possible, especially if you have a short recovery window and are doing two workouts daily.
Substitute low GI foods for moderate to high GI foods to restore muscle glycogen faster.
Choose foods with low-fibre and moderate fat amounts to increase absorption.
Sports drinks can be a convenient option when appetite is suppressed after hard training. Plus it helps restore your fluid balance.
Rice cakes or crackers
Potatoes or sweet potatoes
Amino acids may be oxidized during training. Therefore, we need to restore them through proper nutrition.
Increased protein synthesis is necessary to repair muscle and tissue damage.
Protein aids in the remodeling of muscle, bone, tendon, and ligaments to better withstand the mechanical stress imposed by athletic training and competition.
Support an optimally functioning immune system.
Choose animals protein sources containing all the key essential amino acids or consume different plant-based proteins to create a complete protein source.
Improve body composition and supports lean muscle gain or maintenance.
Leucine is a branch chain amino acid that may be especially important for muscle protein synthesis.
Animal or plant-based protein powder
QUICK SAMPLE POST-EXERCISE MEALS:
grilled chicken and rice with roasted veggies
egg omelet with avocado toast
salmon with sweet potatoes & green veg
oatmeal, whey protein, berries and almonds
Greek yogurt, berries and granola
quinoa bowl with berries and walnuts
tuna or chicken salad sandwich on whole grain bread
bagel and banana with almond/peanut butter
eggs on toast with avocado or cottage cheese
smoothie bowl made with banana, whey protein, milk, nut butter topped with granola
pancakes topped with berries and pure honey or maple syrup
EASY SNACKS IDEAS:
tuna and crackers
pita and hummus
cereal and milk
protein shake and banana
rice cakes and peanut butter
cottage cheese and fruits
Eggs on corn cakes
Learn how to use smart nutrient timing to get the most out of your training through my program: https://www.anniesathletes.org/product-page/nutrition-timing
Train right & fuel for the work required!