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A Guide to Post Workout Nutrition

A Guide to Post Workout Nutrition

by Niamh Lonergan | 29th Apr 2021

With outdoor sports and training starting back up again and the re-opening of gyms on the horizon, it’s important to have a recovery strategy in place to allow our bodies to adapt and progress and to prepare for the next training session, particularly when exercising intensely!

Post workout nutrition is so important for adequate recovery. When it comes to recover, remember the 4R’s- Rest, Refuel, Rehydrate and Repair.

Rest

It’s important to recharge the batteries after exercise, get some rest!

Refuel

  • Try to eat something within the hour after you finish your training as this will start the recovery process
  • Carbohydrates are important in order to replace your depleted glycogen stores after exercising, especially if you are training within a short window at high intensity.
  • The amount required will depend on factors such as intensity and duration of your session as well as recovery time. The more intense the exercise is, longer duration or if you will be training again in a few hours you will need more carbohydrates in your meals.
  • The general rule of thumb is to aim for 1g CHO per kg bodyweight in a post workout meal.
  • Opt for brown/wholemeal versions where possible as this will improve the fibre content of your diet!

Repair

  • Protein is essential to facilitate muscle repair after exercise
  • Eating a source of high- quality protein within 30 minutes-1 hour after exercise is part of the process of promoting muscle protein repair.
  • The amount of protein required to maximise this response to exercise is typically about 20-25 g. Greater amounts of protein than this are simply burned as fuel!
  • It may help to choose a protein source that is rapidly digested as the post-workout protein boost. Whey protein fits this profile, which explains its popularity for post-workout recovery. This can easily be found in everyday dairy foods and drinks including milk, yoghurt and some cheeses.

Rehydrate:

  • Fluids are lost and need to be replaced post-workout.
  • How much water should I drink after exercise? Aim for greater than half litre water (600ml) for every 0.5kg lost after a session, if you’re unsure you could use a weighing scales before and after exercise to monitor the difference.
  • Replacement of water and the salts lost in sweat is an essential part of the recovery process. Consuming rehydration beverages and salty foods at meals/snacks will help replace fluid and electrolyte losses.
  • Electrolytes are also lost in sweat during exercise so it’s important that they are replaced. Consuming water with a salty meal/snack post workout will help replace fluid and electrolyte losses.

Post-workout meal suggestions:

By pairing a carbohydrate and protein source you are setting your body up for success and ensuring adequate recovery! Here are some simple examples of post-workout meal options:

Post-workout dinners:

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