[BYWG Blog] Here’s What To Eat After You Exercise
When we exercise, our bodies break down muscle.
Muscles grow when they rest and recover.
So optimizing recovery is an important part of exercise.
There is a thing called the anabolic window.
This means that there is about a 30 minute window after exercise or performance that is the ideal time for your body to use carbohydrates (glucose) and protein.
During this time, the muscles can better absorb protein, carbs, and other vitamins and minerals.
The goal is to replenish muscles so that they grow and recover faster.
→Eating carbohydrates immediately after exercise replenishes glycogen storages (what the body uses for energy) two times more than if you consumed them 2+ hours after exercise.
→Adding protein with carbs to the post workout meal maximizes the body’s ability to restore glycogen levels, reduce muscle damage, and repair muscles.
→A combination of fast and slow digesting carbs will help to immediately replenish energy needs and aid in prolonged energy.
→Fast-acting carbohydrates (aka simple carbohydrates) are easy to digest and supply the body with energy very quickly. Simple carbs are mostly found in refined grain products, some fruits, and some dairy. You can also find them in high-sugar foods such as candy and soda – but these are not your ideal choice for fast-acting carbohydrates!
Note: Simple carbs can be a good option before a workout if you need a quick boost of energy.
→Slow-digesting carbs – such as yams, wild and brown rice, beans, legumes, vegetables, red potatoes, oat bran, rolled oats, and whole-grain and whole-wheat breads – are loaded with nutrients and fiber. These foods produce relatively slow increases in blood glucose.
The recommended ratio of carbs to protein varies between experts but is generally 2:1 to 4:1 carbs to protein ratio.
For example, 50 grams of carbs and 25 grams of protein (2:1) or 60 grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein (4:1).
Here is the thing… timing meals around workouts has been used by athletes and bodybuilders for decades.
However, many studies show that most people don’t need to replenish carb or protein stores right away.
If you ate a few hours before a workout, your body will likely be able to use some of that fuel during the anabolic window. So, eating exactly 30 minutes after your workout may not be so crucial.
However, if you are working out first thing in the morning or are in a fasted state (have not eaten for 3 hours or more), then you will need that anabolic window to replenish your energy stores and repair the muscles.
And finally, follow up with a balanced meal within 4 hours. 😉