During a hard workout, muscles break down and the best way to stop the breakdown mode is to eat as soon as you can post-workout, ideally within 45 minutes or within two hours at most. The purpose of recovery nutrition is to nourish, repair, and build muscles. An effective post-workout snack should contain carbohydrates combined with protein. The carbohydrates function to stimulate the release of insulin, a hormone that transports carbohydrates into the muscles to be stored as muscle glycogen. Muscle glycogen is the energy used at higher exercise intensities and having adequate stores is essential for peak performance of endurance athletes, such as marathon runners. Insulin also supports muscle building. Adding some protein post-workout supports a better muscle refueling and building response. Protein also reduces cortisol, a hormone that breaks down muscle. (1)
Examples of a post-workout snack include Greek yogurt, apple slices with peanut butter, a handful of nuts with dried fruit, and a banana with a glass of milk. If your workout is at American Family Fitness, be sure to stop by our café and try one of our recovery shakes, which contain the ideal ratio of carbs to protein and can also be customized to your needs and preferences.
For recovery recipes and more ideas, stop by the American Family Fitness booth at the Women’s Health Expo on Saturday, February 29 and sign up with your email to receive a free Nutrition Recovery Recipe E-Booklet.
If you have questions or would like to learn more about American Family Fitness Nutrition Services, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
References: Clark, N. (2008). Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. 4th edition. Chestnut Hill, MA: Human Kinetics.