Post-workout nutrition can be a minefield to navigate. With different tips coming from every direction, does it really need to be so complicated? We don’t think so! Here’s what you need to know.
Workout type matters
What you do during your workout matters most! Our body gravitates towards different sources of fuel for different types of exercise. So what you are doing should be factored into your post-workout nutrition.
Lifting (aka strength training)
When training with weights, what you’re effectively doing is creating tiny amounts of muscle ‘stress’ and tears (which is a great thing for muscle growth.) This requires a recovery period to follow, and an emphasis on protein to rebuild and repair those muscles.
The amount of protein needed after a strength training workout ranges between 20-30 grams. Although, this will vary from person to person based on their own specifics. Ideally, this should be consumed within 30 minutes following the session.
For intense resistance sessions, it’s suggested that 20-30 grams of lean protein and 30-40 grams of healthy carbs should be consumed within 30 minutes of completing the workout.
Due to this small window of opportunity to uptake your protein goal after a strength session, some people opt for protein powders. This is very much a personal preference and there is no solid evidence that whole foods cannot be just as effective.
Examples of post-strength workout meals/snacks:
- Brown rice, chicken and veggies (see this recipe)
- Eggs on toast
- Overnight oats (see this recipe)
- Salmon and roast veggies (see this recipe)
- Lentil pasta (see this recipe)
- Quinoa, pumpkin and chicken (see this recipe)
- Protein-packed wrap (see this recipe)
- Apple/banana with nut butter
- Power smoothie (see this recipe)
- Yoghurt and muesli/trail mix
This type of exercise is different from weight training, and the source of fuel used during cardio is predominately glycogen. Replacing your glycogen is essential to your body’s restorative process, and carbohydrates are the best source of glycogen.
For less intense workouts or those that are less than an hour, a single piece of fruit can be sufficient. Fruits like banana, melon, berries and apples are a great source of energy and they contain nutrients including carbohydrates, vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants and fibre, all which support recovery.
For a more high intensity, 60 minute + cardio session, the range of carbohydrates that you need is approximately 1gm of carbs per 1kg of bodyweight.
Good examples of post-cardio workout refuel include:
- Yogurt and a banana
- Yogurt and muesli
- Fruit topped-toast (see this recipe)
- Potato tortilla (see this recipe)
- Tomato rissoni (see this recipe)
Let’s not forget that no matter what day of the week it is, your hydration should not be neglected either!
Pairing up adequate hydration with a smart approach to post-workout meals will offer you the best chance at recovering quicker, feeling energetic and keeping your body happy as it works behind the scenes to keep us healthy and ready for the next workout session!
For further help with your diet and nutrition, or to learn more about our 12WBT nutrition programs, visit us here.