Post Workout Nutrition

MF – My question is about post-workout nutrition. Anything you recommend we eat after a workout? Anything we should avoid? Also, do you eat the same “recovery” food after a heavy lifting workout as you do after a good metcon? I have no where to go but up. My current post workout nutrition is whatever coffee is left in the to
-go in the car and maybe a few nuts.

What you eat post workout matters a ton. It could mean be the difference between having lots of soreness or moderate soreness. It could influence your adaptation to that workout. Post workout nutrition has been very well studied and is absolutely important. Pre workout nutrition is less well understood and in my opinion depends greatly on the person and the type of workout you are going to do and when.

After a workout I like to get a source of protein and carbohydrate in my body pretty quickly. Since I stick to paleo foods I will grab some apples and chicken, or salmon and berries. I’ve never had success myself but some people who tolerate their carbs well can have sweet potatos and protein after a workout and feel great. Bottom line is that protein after a workout is important for delivery of amino acids to the tissues that just worked hard. The carbs are important for two reasons. One they will help you replenish any glycogen stores (storage form of carbohydrate in the muscle) that you may have depleted in the workout. The other thing carbs do is create a hormonal environment in the body that promotes the delivery of nutrients to the worked muscles. Double BONUS!

Other post workout options (eggs, egg whites, banana, protein shake with some fruit).

Let me be clear that when I say “post workout”, I’m talking about the window of time 0-20 minutes after you finish exercise. That is a crucial time window. You don’t need much to take advantage of this metabolically active time. 3oz of Salmon and 1/2 cup of applesauce does the trick. Fat doesn’t really serve a purpose in this recovery window. But your next meal after this which could be anywhere from 1-3 hours later should be balanced and have a good mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrate.

During this post workout window the body is able to handle carbohydrates better than any other time during the day. For this reason I try to save most of my fruit for this window and stick with veggies the rest of the day.

When it comes to tinkering with this post workout stuff you have to ask yourself these questions. How was my recovery from that workout? Did my post workout meal change my appetite for the rest of the day in a positive or negative way? Did I choose foods or shake options that were palatable right after working out? Is this a sustainable practice.

As far as getting into the detail of changing my post workout prescription based upon the type of workout, I think I’ll stay clear of that one. It can get pretty complex and to be honest I’m not sure if I’ve ever noticed a very significant different from changing my ratios of protein and carbs post workout. There are coaches out their that will prescribe different percentages protein and carb based upon the type of training you did that day (metcon, endurance, strength). But with out varied approach you just need to find something that works.

Post your post-WOD meal, how long you waited after your workout, and comments.

Marcus