Why Post Workout Nutrition is Important? Post a workout, your body is in a process of breakdown because of many biochemical, metabolic & hormonal changes that have taken place during the exercise. By consuming proper nutrients post-workout, you will be able to arrest further muscle breakdown, initiate the re-synthesis of fuel reserves, initiate the rebuilding of damaged tissue, bring down cortisol levels, accelerate removal of metabolic products (lactic acid, CO2). Hence, having a post-workout fuelling plan in place is extremely important for improvements in both body composition (fat loss) and exercise performance, faster recovery, preventing fatigue and resisting injury.
What is “Recovery Nutrition”? Insulin sensitivity is heightened immediately after exercise, which means that ideally you should consume your post-workout meal as soon as you finish your workout. The quicker you feed your body, the better nutrient delivery to the muscles and more nutrient & glucose uptake by them to utilize for repair. Another physiological effect of exercise is the immediate increase in the blood flow to the muscles. Hence, the delivery of protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, water etc. is also enhanced, resulting in greater muscle protein synthesis.
The “Recovery Nutrition” comprises of the four R’s backed by exercise physiologists all over the world, which are- 1. Re-hydrate– It is crucial to make up for the loss of fluids and electrolytes as your body is in a dehydrated state post-workout. Among other health benefits, staying properly hydrated will help your body be better able to deliver the nutrients that your cells and muscles need in order to repair themselves. 2.Replenish– One of the primary goals post-exercise is to replenish glycogen reserves (stored carbohydrate in muscle & liver) that gets depleted during training. Post-workout, you should consume carbohydrates that come from simple, high-glycemic sources so that they can quickly do its job. They will break down quickly in your gut, sending a surge of sugar into your bloodstream and raising your blood glucose which in turn, will spike insulin levels. Since insulin has both anabolic and anti-catabolic functions, it will accelerate protein synthesis, inhibit protein breakdown, and shuttle glycogen into cells. And this is one instance where elevated insulin won’t promote increases in body fat. Because your muscles & liver are literally starved, nutrients will tend to be used for muscle building & repair rather than fat storage. The bottom line: Include a variety of carbohydrates post-exercise. Few good choices are sugarcane juice, banana, boiled potato, potato sandwich.
3.Recover– The other main nutritional objective post-workout is to supply sufficient amino acids (protein) for muscle tissue repair. If protein intake is sub-optimal following training, recovery is hampered and results are compromised. When amino acids are consumed following training, protein synthesis increases, optimizing the development of lean muscle tissue. Increase in lean muscle tissue is important for fat loss, change in body composition and improved exercise performance. The bottom line: Once you have had your carb-rich food, have a whey protein shake mixing whey protein powder in water. 4.Revitalize– Make sure to incorporate key vitamins and minerals in your post-workout meal that will help to recover and repair faster. Antioxidants are of prime importance here as they will negate the free radical effect of exercise that interferes with the body's recovery mechanism. Important antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and minerals Selenium, Zinc, Chromium. Apart from its antioxidant effect, these minerals also have an insulin-like effect thus accelerating the anabolism process post workout. The bottom line: Take separate vitamin supplements (of A, C, E) along with a supplement of Zinc, Selenium, Chromium with your post work-out meal. Plan your post-workout meals right and get incredible results from your workout! Stay fit, stay young!