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Saturday, February 11, 2012

When and What Should I Eat After I Exercise?

There are important variables we need to consider when trying to get into the BEST shape/health as we possibly can.  We need quality 7-9 hours of sleep, we need to exercise, and we need to eat clean foods.    Out of the 3 important variables I believe sleep is THE most important factor to clean healthy living.  Secondly, I think nutrition is next most important variable because in order to produce your max effort into a wod/workout will depend on what you fuel your body and when.  So, recently I've been asked what we should have for a pre workout meal and a post workout meal?

Pre-wod/workout meal:

According to Dr. Loren Cordain (The Paleo Diet For Athletes) we should eat 2 hours before our workout (400-600 calories).  We should consume mostly carbohydrates.  From your previous nights sleep, which is your "fasting" period, your body's stores of glycogen were reduced.  The fastest, most efficient way to restore this vital fuel source is by eating carbs.  Try to reduce the glycemic index of the meal the more time you have before the start of the workout because the glycemic index of a food indicates how quickly a carbohydrate's sugar gets into the blood.  Eating a lower glycemic index food 2 hours before your workout, your gut will have time to digest it and slowly replenish glycogen stores.  Fruit is a good choice (apple sauce) because it's sugar, fructose, is slow to digest.  Also, keep the small meal low in fiber, include protein, especially the branched-chain amino acids, and hydrate well, but only the last hour before you workout - so you prevent a rapid influx of sugar to the blood, followed by the release of insulin to control it.  Examples of pre-wod/workout meals:  Fruit with eggs, applesauce with protein powder/egg whites, or baby food.

Post-wod/workout meal:

As soon as you finish your wod/workout, it's time to think of recovery.  This should be your highest priority.  Following exercise, your objective must be to return your body to it's pre-exercise levels of hydration, glycogen storage, and muscle protein status as quickly as possible.  Diet is the CRITICAL component in this process, and the first 30 minutes after your wod/workout is the most critical time because, at this point, your body is better prepared to receive and store carbohydrate than at any other time during the day.  Other research reveals that the repair of muscles damaged during exercise is more effective if protein is consumed immediately after exercise.  

Some effective sources of carbohydrates are; sweet potatoes, bananas and raisins.  Take in at least 3/4 gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight from those sources.  This recovery meal is best taken in liquid form if possible.

Recently I've decided to stop drinking protein shakes because I am trying to be as "natural" as possible so, I designed my own post wod shake that includes; 1 sweet potato, 1 banana, 4 egg whites, 2 tsp of cinnamon, and a cup of ice.  I blend it all for a minute or so and wa-la!  

I hope this information is useful and I have to let you all know, if you already couldn't tell...hahah - that the above information was taken directly from Dr. Loren Cordain's book The Paleo Diet For Athletes.  

Have a great weekend,


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