There is a lot of interest in knowing what is the best post-workout nutrition.
Partly because supplementation companies have generated great expectations about this food, making it a great opportunity to sell.
The best food, the best supplement, the perfect timing... everything to optimize your efforts and get the best results.
The secret formula? You're about to find out.
Do I have to eat after training?
This question is very general and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
It will depend on physical condition, volume and intensity of training and sporting objective.
As a general rule, the more important the sport is to you, the more you should be concerned about the post-workout meal.The company will have a direct impact on the recovery.
If you do yoga or CrossFit
They are two very different activities in terms of intensity and therefore do not involve the same energy expenditure.
If you do yoga, or a guided class at the gym, or a dance class or a similar activity that has not involved a large caloric burn you do not need any post workout.
If, on the other hand, if you do an intense weight routine, CrossFit or wrestling, high intensity workouts you can value it. Depending on the next criteria.
If you train at high intensity, but you're just starting out.
Surely if you are a beginner, your workouts cannot be high intensity either, as they should be appropriate to your ability.
In this case, you should not worry about post-training until you have made the leap to more strenuous sessions.
If you do CrossFit 2 or 3 times a week.
We have no doubt about how intense an a CrossFit WODbut that is not a sufficient requirement to take a post-workout.
If you have trained today, but you won't train again for 2 days, you have enough with eat well.
In fact, if your goal is to lose fat not only do you not need to but it will be counterproductive to eat because you will diminish the effect that the training will have.
If you want to compete
If your sport level is advanced, you want to compete, you have a high volume of workouts and you need to recover as soon as possible to add another training session, is when you will benefit the most from a post-workout meal..
How much to eat after training?
The amount you eat after training should be conditioned to your weight. You should not eat the same if you weigh 50 kg or 100 kg.
We are looking for a good recovery by giving our body the nutrients it needs, but at the same time we want to minimize the recovery of the fat burned during exercise. That is why it is important to control the amount.
If you don't see progress, you are probably overeating. There is a big psychological component in the quantity of food we eat when we train and do things like: I earn it! I can it whatever I WANT!.
Sometimes we need other types of objective tools to help us determine exactly what we eat because we are not able to correctly relate the amount of effort to the amount of food.
It may be interesting to count calories for a while. This will help you to better control the amounts you eat and thus achieve your goals more quickly.
After a while you usually have enough knowledge to continue eating the same proportions "by eye" without having to weigh the food forever.
Why is post-training so important?
The main objective of a post training is glycogen and protein recovery to return to training as soon as possibleIt is through training that we see the changes in our body and our athletic performance.
After a training session we want to replenish glycogen stores we have spent and stopping muscle catabolism synthesizing new proteins. But this is not the only variable. If we want to have a good recovery, it is also important to ensure rest between sessions.
What should the post workout include?
According to the most recent studies it seems safe to say that increasing amino acid and insulin levels after training aids muscle synthesis.
Therefore, the Post-workout meal should be high in protein and carbohydrates. to promote the optimization of new protein synthesis to stop muscle catabolism from training.
As we have seen, it will depend on the intensity of your training, your weight and the rest of the meals you eat during the day, but there is enough consensus to affirm that 20-30 grams of protein is the ideal amount for most people..
For some people the most convenient way is to drink a protein shake. They are easy to drink even if you are not very hungry right after eating and they are easy to digest.
For those who prefer the satiety of real food, these measures translate to about 100-150 grams of meat or fish, or a couple of eggs.
The carbohydrates work synergistically with the protein. Not only do they not only recharges glycogen, but also promotes protein synthesis..
There is a tendency to consume high-glycemic carbohydrates in the post-workout meal in order to recharge glycogen stores as soon as possible. And the truth is that unless we double our training sessions every day, the speed at which glycogen levels recover is not that important.
It is recommended that in the hours following your workout you concentrate about 50% of your entire carbohydrate intake for the day.
The recommended amount also depends on the same factors discussed above, but it is normally recommended that between 0.6 and 0.8 g of carbohydrate per body weight.
Fats do not play such an important role in the post-workout meal.
The supplements with the strongest scientific backing are: whey protein and creatine.
The number of supplements that are recommended is very extensive, but you can save money on almost all of them. If you want to get that extra, invest only in safe and effective supplements.
To understand in more detail the effectiveness of creatine I recommend reading this post.
When to eat? The truth about the anabolic window
For years we have believed that the 30 minutes right after training was the key to maximizing our efforts.
Today we have a little more scientific evidence that shows us that the anabolic window is not so short and does not have such a far-reaching impact on our results..
We know that after training, your body goes into a state in which increases protein synthesis and nutrients are helpful for muscle and glycogen recovery.
More recent studies show that that window does not close after 30 minutes after training, and that it is more relevant what you eat throughout the day than just the post-workout meal.
Real food vs. post-workout supplements
If your diet is bad, no matter how much you drink a shake right after training, you will not improve your health or aesthetics.
Therefore, post-workout food helps only in a context in which the rest of your diet is good..
A supplement is just the icing on the cake, it does not work miracles. The work has to be done in the gym and in the kitchen.
Examples of post-workout meals
Whole milk and fruit smoothie
A good example of real post-workout food that includes a good mix of protein, carbohydrate, even fat, is milk. Its consumption will depend on your tolerance and your goals.
During training, in addition to consuming calories and producing muscle wasting, an oxidative process is undergone, which means that including some fruit rich in antioxidants (such as berries, cherries, pomegranate...) can be very beneficial.
Whey and fruit shake
Another version avoiding milk is to prepare the milkshake with water, banana (an excellent combination of glucose and fructose) and a 20-30 g scoop of whey..
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I like to choose it neutral so as not to add artificial flavorings, but it is also available with flavors.
Vegetable dish with meat/fish/egg and potato/boniato
Some people prefer their post-workout to coincide with a meal for its satiating power.
It is recommended that to your usual dish (meat, fish or eggs + vegetables or salad) you add starch such as potato or sweet potato.
It may seem the most complicated option of all, or not because it is already one of the meals of the day.
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Fruit juice and creatine
Although juices are not usually recommended due to the disadvantages they offer compared to whole fruit, they can be a good option for post-workout.
Consuming liquid food after training is usually more appetizing than chewing and is digested quickly. You can add creatine if you consume this supplement.
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At the beginning we already said that many variables had to be taken into account to define exactly what to take after training. After having assessed several scenarios, here's what you should remember:
- food has a greater impact than supplementation,
- it is more important what you eat throughout the day than what you eat right after training.
- if you are one of the group of people who benefit from having a post-workout meal, you don't need to spend a lot of money on supplements, the only ones that have a real effect are creatine and protein.
- a good rest between sessions is necessary.