You can't finish a hard workout and think, 'That's it. I am done my workout. I can relax now.'
You miss an important part of training if you forget about post-workout nutrition. After exercise, your body lacks the energy and important nutrients it needs to recover. Restoring this energy store is part of the workout.
In order to recover adequately, you need to refuel properly. Begin with a snack or meal within 15 to 60 minutes following exercise. Remember to replenish with:
- Fluid and electrolytes to replace what was lost in sweat
- Carbohydrates to replace muscle and liver glycogen
- Protein to aid in the repair of damaged muscle tissue and to help develop new tissue
It's more important to refuel with the right amount of food at the correct time. Learn how to plan a proper workout recovery meal before your next workout.
An important component of post-exercise refueling is consuming the right amount of carbohydrates. Athletes should consume 1 to 1.2 grams of carbohydrate/kilogram body weight within the first hour of finishing.
For example, if you were a 68-kilogram athlete (150 pounds) you would need 68 to 82 grams of carbohydrates within the first hour of recovery. Choose from whole grain bread, cereal, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and other grains. Pair any of these with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, like broccoli and spinach, to further help the recovery process along.