Here is something not many of our clients either know or acknowledge…
Eating the right foods at the right time after a workout will speed your recovery, let you workout again quicker, and improve your body’s ability to maintain muscle tissue, all of which are how you can make consistent progress in your training.
So when you see your friend at the Y who has been working out forever and she still doesn’t have any muscle tone in her arms… blame it on her food. When you can’t bench or squat as much as you’d like… blame it on your food.
So what’s the best thing to eat after a workout – whether it’s strength training or cardiovascular training? Research has shown that a meal with a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein is best when you also want to keep your calories in check. And that meal should be consumed within your metabolic window, or 30-45 minutes post exercise. By consuming this meal during the metabolic window, you can recover in a quick 4-10 hours. Past 45 minutes then the meal is less effective until at about 2 hours after exercise when there is little effect on your recovery and you’ll be cursing your trainer the next day.
To figure out the numbers associated with your 2:1 ratio, you first need to figure out how many carbs you need after exercise to increase your glycogen stores. A realistic carbohydrate intake is 1.0 gram per kg of body weight. So take your body weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 (then multiply by 1.0☺) to get your carbohydrate intake. Take ½ of that number to get your protein intake. For a 130 pound female, you would take 130/2.2 = 59 grams X 1.0 = 59 grams. Rounding to 60 grams for ease. Then take ½ of 60 = 30 grams. This will give you a 2:1 ratio of 60 grams of carbohydrate to 30 grams of protein for a post workout meal for this woman.
Some examples of whole foods in the 20-25 gram range of carbohydrates include 1 cup of juice, 1 large piece of fruit, ½ of a plain bagel, 1 cup of most cereals, ½ cup of rice. Examples of whole foods in the 20-25 gram range of protein are 3 eggs, ¾ cup of cottage cheese, 3-4 ounces of meat. So after your morning workouts look towards eating a bagel and eggs or cereal, fruit and cottage cheese. (keeping your range of carbs to proteins in mind.) After your night workouts, dinner with rice and meat or a snack of juice and a bagel. But remember to eat them quickly after your workout to fit it into that metabolic window. If you can’t eat in time, a supplement may be best. Just be sure to check food labels for the right ratio.
There are lots of options in food, just use an app like MyFitnessPal or ask your trainer for some advice and fuel up after a workout the right way… trust us, you’ll like us more when your not too sore!