Archive for the tag - post-workout

6 Do’s and Don’ts of Post-Workout Nutrition!

post-workout-supplementationWhat you eat after the gym is arguably the most crucial meal of the day. After working out, it’s important to consume the right foods to help your body replenish, repair and rebuild. Doing so will maximize your results.

Here are 6 key do’s and don’ts.

  1. Do take whey protein. Strength training breaks down your muscle fibers. Supplementing with protein gives your body what it needs to rebuild your muscles stronger than before. Whey protein is absorbed quickly by your body (unlike slower proteins like soy, hemp or casein) and so they are the best post-workout choice.
  2. Don’t eat fat – even healthy fats. Because time is of the essence, you don’t want to eat anything that will slow down the absorption of key nutrients. Fat (even good, heart-healthy fat) will slow down digestion, so it’s important to opt for food options without much fat content.
  3. Do consume simple carbohydrates. When taken after a workout, carbohydrates restore muscle glycogen. And if you don’t eat carbs in your post-workout recovery meal, your body may actually breakdown existing muscle for this very same purpose. This is really the only time when simple carbohydrates (a.k.a. the bad carbs like those found in many cereals and fruit juices) are advisable.
  4. Don’t eat foods with lots of fiber. Like fat, fiber slows down the digestion of food. While fiber is an extremely important part of your overall meal plan (especially for people looking to lose weight as it make you feel full), a post-workout meal isn’t the time to include it.
  5. Do favor liquid meals over solid foods. Solid foods are great, nutritious and delicious, but a solid meal tends to be absorbed slowly. Sure, a plate of chicken and potatoes has lots of protein and carbs – but it’s not going to be absorbed as quickly as a shake.
  6. Don’t wait! Did I mention that time is of the essence? Experts agree that sooner is better. If you can, bring your post-workout meal to the gym so that you can consume it immediately after exercising. Don’t let your window of opportunity close!

So, what are some easy suggestions to eat after exercising? I generally opt for a whey protein shake and a banana. You’ll get protein and carbs without fat or much fiber. Acia bowls are another great option. Alternatively, you could mix whey protein powder and dextrose into a post-workout recovery shake.

Share some of your favorite post-workout tips below in the comments below. I look forward to reading them!

Best Acai Bowl Recipe.

Acia (pronounced “Ah-Sigh-EE”) berries are all the rage.

Often touted as a “superfood” by marketers, these berries (like other berries) do have high levels of antioxidants that protect cells, reduce the effects of aging and may decrease the risk of some diseases (including heart disease and cancer).

But beyond their antioxidant benefits, I enjoy acia berries because of their rich and almost chocolatey flavor. The berries have a unique but delicious taste – and, they make for a great post-workout snack.

After we exercise, our bodies need an immediate dose of protein and carbohydrates. Though most people realize the importance of post-workout protein, carbohydrate consumption is often overlooked. After a workout, carbs restore muscle glycogen. And, if the body doesn’t receive post-workout carbohydrates, it may actually breakdown muscle for this same purpose.

In fact, because the body needs carbohydrates quickly, it’s one of the few times when simple carbs are recommended over complex carbohydrates which are absorbed slowly. In other words, it’s a good time to eat foods with added sugar or honey.

That’s why, while visiting San Diego, I’ve fallen in love with a popular local snack: Acia bowls. Almost all the smoothie shops have them, and they’re a delicious way to deliver protein and simple carbs to your body when they’re needed most.

Here’s how you can make a yummy, post-workout acai bowl at home.

Ingredients:

  • Frozen acai smoothie pack (available at Whole Foods Market and many grocery stores and chains)
  • 1/2 frozen, pealed banana
  • 1 cup vanilla (or strawberry) protein powder
  • 7 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup soy milk, almond milk or apple juice
  • 1/2 fresh banana, sliced
  • 3 – 4 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup granola
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

In a blender, combine acai smoothie mix, protein powder, frozen banana, frozen strawberries and soy milk, almond milk or apple juice. Blend until smooth and add additional liquid until a thick but well-blended mixture is achieved.

Pour contents into a bowl, and top with sliced strawberries, bananas and granola. Drizzle honey over top.

It’s a simple and easy recipe, but it’s exactly what your body needs after a good workout. In the comments below, let me know if you share my love for acai!

P.S. It’s the last day to save 25% on my brand-new workout program: Davey Wavey’s Get Ripped Workout! Use discount code “blog” to save 25% today – and say hello to a leaner, stronger body tomorrow!

Avoid Fats After Your Workout.

Consuming protein and carbs after your workout is a good thing. Eating fat is not.

I love fats. Eating healthy and essential fats is an important part of any diet.

But there is one part of the day, in particular, where consuming these fats should be avoided. And that time of the day is just after your workout.

We know that it’s important to consume both protein and carbohydrates after you complete your workout. And it’s important to get them fast. In fact, the quicker the better. This is why whey protein isolate is so effective and why simple carbohydrates like dextrose are recommended – both get absorbed quickly.

Fat, on the other hand, tends to slow down the digestion process – which means that it takes more time for your body to get the proteins and carbs that it so badly needs. For this reason, most personal trainers and nutritionists will warn against consuming fat with your post-workout recovery shake or meal.

Bottom line: Essential fats are an important part of any diet – just avoid eating them after your workout.

Shocking But True: Your Body Needs Carbs After Exercising.

You know that it takes protein to build muscles like these - but did you know it takes carbs, too?

Yes, I said the dreaded c-word. I know what you’re thinking: “Carbs are bad! Carbs are terrible! Get that Kool-Aid away from me!” But hear me out.

Many people adhere to low-carb diets to maintain a lean build. And it works. Low-carb diets can be extremely effective. Even so, there is one time when all people need to consume carbohydrates – and that is after a workout.

After a workout, most fitness enthusiasts know they need protein to rebuild and repair their muscles. As such, there’s a full spectrum of quality protein powders available. But marketers are savvy. Realizing the bad rap that carbohydrates get, most of these protein powders pride themselves on being low-carb or carb-free. While this might seem like a great selling point, it flies in the face of science and post-workout research.

When taken after a workout, carbohydrates restore muscle glycogen. And if you don’t eat carbs in your post-workout recovery meal, your body may actually break down muscle for this very same purpose. Uh-oh.

After you finish exercising, your body needs carbs – and it needs them fast. Simple carbohydrates, like the ones you might usually avoid any other time in the day, are absorbed quickest by the body, and thus they’re the ideal candidate. 40 – 70 grams of carbohydrates usually do the trick, which is basically a bottle of Vitamin Water. Nothing too crazy, though some trainers might advise upwards of 120 grams.

Here’s the bottom line: After you exercise, take a protein shake. And, in the likely event that your protein shake doesn’t provide enough carbs, grab a quick sugary drink or even a dextrose supplement. Yes, Davey Wavey just told you to drink a sugary drink. I promise, this is the only time!

What to Eat After a Workout.

I just read an e-mail from a confused blog buddy that needs some post-workout nutrition guidance. Here’s my best shot.

Admittedly, it can get confusing – especially when marketing comes into play. Dozens of workout shakes are pushed our way, not to mention a whole slew of protein bars. So what’s one to do?

First things first, there is one thing that you definitely don’t want to eat after you exercise: Fat. Even “good” fat. Obviously, all of us need fat in our diets, but immediately following a workout is not when you want to consume it. Fat slows down digestion – and after a workout, your body needs to be replenished quickly. This is why I tend to avoid “muscle milk” which is actually quite high in fat.

There are three things you do need after a workout:

  • Hydration – I prefer water.
  • Carbohydrates.
  • Protein.

And how soon do you need them? Very quickly. I try to get my initial post-workout feeding within 20 or 30 minutes of exercising. Definitely within 1 hour.

When it comes for protein, we know that not all proteins are created equal. You want a high quality protein that is absorbed quickly by the body. This is why I tend to mix some whey protein powder for my initial intake as a shake. I recommend that you try the same – whey protein (ideally, whey isolate instead of concentrate) is as good as it gets! If you need deeper guidance, find out how much protein you should be consuming over the course of a day.

You also need carbs. Thanks to the likes of Dr. Atkins, women and many gay men alike try to avoid carbs like the bubonic plague. But carbohydrates are super important to your post-workout recovery. In fact, they restore muscle glycogen – and if you don’t have carbs, your body may break down muscle to perform the same process. So, make sure your post-workout meal does contain carbs. There are several formulas to calculate the exact amount, but they generally point to a range of 30 – 70 grams, depending on body weight and workout length and intensity.

If you want to get fancy, try a chicken sandwich or egg white veggie omelet with toast. But really, a good protein shake powder will generally do the trick. You can even bring the powder with you to the gym – or leave a scoop in your protein bottle and just add water on your way home. It’s a great way to help you make the most of your workout and get the results you want!

What do you eat after you workout? Let me know in the comments below.