Your Body After Exercise
Immediately after a workout, you will enter a time period called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. This is your bodys metabolism operating at an elevated rate to recover, refuel and adapt to the work that you have just completed. EPOC levels are highest directly after exercise, creating the ideal time frame to have a post-workout drink.
How Much Protein Do I Really Need After My Workout
More protein is not always better. Just because you eat heaps of protein after your workout doesnt mean that your body is absorbing it. Studies show that about 20 g of protein after a workout is the best way to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
So what happens to all the extra protein? It might be getting stored as fat as a result of the excess calories. It is important that you get enough protein post-workout , but dont overdo it.And did you know that protein is absorbed best if you consume it with carbohydrates?
Are you ready to find out what you should eat before and after your workout?
On the adidas Runtastic blog weve got the perfect shopping list and recipes for your post-workout nutrition.
Why Its Important To Eat After A Workout
For starters, you need to replenish the carbohydrates and glycogen you just depleted during your workout, says Tara Collingwood, a registered dietitian nutritionist and sports dietitian in Orlando, Florida.
Youll want to consume high-quality protein afterward as well to build and repair muscle tissue that was broken down during your workout and stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which is essential for muscle recovery and adaptation to exercise. During exercisestrength training, in particularyour muscles experience micro-tears. Eating protein can help rebuild and repair those damaged muscle fibers.
Its also important to replace the fluids lost from sweating and breathing hard, as well as consume foods that are rich in antioxidants to protect your cells from exercise-induced damage, Collingwood adds.
On the other hand, skipping a post-workout snack can increase your level of fatigue and inhibit your bodys repair and recovery processes. It can also decrease your performance the next time you exercise, says Bonci.
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After: Chicken Brown Rice And Veggies
Theres a reason skinless chicken breast is thought of as a slim-down food: Half of one packs in 27 grams of protein in only 142 calories. It also has a lot of vitamin B-6, a nutrient important for your immune system. Serve it with brown rice and veggies for the right combination of carbs and nutrients.
Should I Drink Protein Before Or After A Workout
You can take in protein or amino acids pre- and post-workout, but if I absolutely had to pick one time, I’d say pre-workout. Sacrilege, you say! If you’re more upset than a cat kicked off a ledge, give me time to explain before you claw my face off.
Post-workout shakes have long been considered the most important pieces of the workout nutrition puzzle. Recent research suggests, however, that ingesting protein and amino acids prior to training may be even more beneficial.
Hang in there, kitty. Here’s why:
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What Is The Anabolic Window
The theory of the anabolic windows states that we should consume a recovery meal or other form of protein no more than 30 minutes after our workout is complete.
Anabolism, the process in which small molecules turn into bigger and more complex molecules, is most prominent as soon as we’re done working out. Once the workout is complete, especially after weight training, our bodies are in an anabolic state.
This means that the muscles we’ve damaged during the workout begin to be repaired since the active state of damaging them is no longer happening.
In contrast, our bodies are in a catabolic state prior to working out. Catabolism, or the state of being catabolic, simply means that our bodies are breaking down the food we’ve eaten into energy.
The anabolic window theory suggests that there’s a 30-minute period immediately after a workout is complete for our bodies to absorb that protein in order to maximize potential muscle recovery and gains. Because protein is used to build muscle and our bodies are in repair mode immediately after a workout, the thought is that consuming it during our muscle repair phase will have extraordinary effects.
When Should You Eat After A Workout
The first 30 to 45 minutes after a workout is the optimal window for using nutrition to help your body recover from physical exertion. The enzymes that help with the muscle resynthesis process and glycogen replenishment are most active right after exercise, says Bonci. If you dont feel like eating much right after a workout, dont sweat it: Simply have a light snack or a serving of chocolate milk.
Eating a larger meal a few hours after your workout also helps your body recover. Two hours after a workout, up the ante by having a more substantial meal, such as:
- A vegetable-and-cheese omelet with whole wheat toast.
- A turkey sandwich with tomato and avocado slices.
- A whole-grain bagel topped with nut butter and sliced banana.
- A whole-wheat pita stuffed with raw or grilled vegetables and hummus.
- A stir-fry with vegetables and shrimp, tofu or chicken slices, served on brown rice or quinoa.
For the sake of muscle recovery and replenishing glycogen stores, its best to create a meal that consists of one-third fruits and vegetables, one-third protein, one-third complex carbohydrates and a little fat for good measure, says Bonci. This blend of macronutrients is optimal for post-exercise recovery.
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Can You Lose Weight By Pooping
While you might feel lighter after pooping, youre not actually losing much weight. Whats more, when you lose weight while pooping, youre not losing the weight that really matters. To lose disease-causing body fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume. You can do this by exercising more and eating less.
How To Get It
20-30 grams may sound like a lot, but incorporating that much into your diet is easy especially compared to the workout you finished right before. There are endless options to get you there, so feel free to switch things up each time you step off the treadmill.
One way to get your protein is in liquid form. You can knock out 8 grams with just one low-fat chocolate milk from Horizon, and if you’ve got time to make a protein-rich smoothie, you can whip one up with Aloha chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, and frozen bananas. The powder packs 18 grams of protein alone!
When it comes to eating your protein, the numbers will quickly add up if you combine any of these quick and easy choices. A 3-ounce can of StarKist tuna has 16 grams of protein, string cheese ranges from 5-10 grams, and a hard-boiled egg is usually 6. Greek yogurt, beef jerky, and granola bars are high in protein as well. Enjoying just one of these snacks with a shake will help you reach that 20-30 range. If you’re overwhelmed by all of the protein powders at the store, don’t worry. We tested 10 protein powders and this is the best.
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So Is Skipping Protein After A Workout Really That Bad
Assuming you eat a protein-rich diet throughout the day, skipping protein right after your workout is OK. What counts the most is the amount of protein you take in during the day as a whole not so much when you eat it.
“As long as you are getting enough protein throughout the day, skipping it after a workout isn’t going to stop any of the benefits you get from exercising,” Klingbeil says. “You will still be able to lose weight and increase muscle mass and strength.”
The Timing Of Your Post
Your bodys ability to rebuild glycogen and protein is enhanced after you exercise .
For this reason, its recommended that you consume a combination of carbs and protein as soon as possible after exercising. In the past, experts recommended eating your post-workout meal within 45 minutes, as a delay of carb consumption by as little as 2 hours after a workout may lead to as much as 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis (
Additionally, recovery is not just about what you consume directly after working out. When you exercise consistently, the process is ongoing. It is best to continue to eat small, well-balanced meals of carbs and protein every 34 hours .
Eat your post-workout meal soon after exercising, ideally within a few hours. However, you can extend this period a little longer, depending on the timing of your pre-workout meal.
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Why You Need Protein
Protein is one of the three macronutrients namely, protein, carbohydrates, and fats that your body needs. Protein is made up of amino acids. When you consume it, your body breaks down the protein into amino acids, which are then recombined and moved through the body to where theyre needed.
Protein has many functions in the body, including building your entire structural framework from your cells through to your bones, organs, and muscle tissue. Its also needed to produce enzymes, hemoglobin, and hormones, strengthen your immune system, and help transport nutrients around your body.
Whether youre a competitive athlete or bodybuilder who wants to build muscle mass or simply someone who wants to keep up your energy so you can easily manage your everyday tasks and your regular workout you need protein plus resistance training.
How Much Protein Do You Need After A Workout
Protein has a few key benefits that make it crucial to eat after a workout. For one thing, it contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of our muscles and are necessary for energy and proper bodily function, Michalczyk says.
âProtein also helps to keep us fuller for longer, so it can help stave off that ravenous feeling that we sometimes can get after a tough workout,â she adds. âThis is good when you need that snack to hold you over to your next meal.â
However, not all proteins are created equal. âSome foods are complete sources of protein and some are incomplete, meaning they don’t contain all of the amino acids your body needs for all of these processes,â Michalczyk says. So, if you don’t eat traditional complete proteinsâaka meat, dairy, fish, and eggsâand tend to opt for more plant-based foods, youâll need to combine where you can to get in that requirement.
âYou can definitely mix both plant-based and animal protein after a workout, just make sure it is a complete source of protein meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs,â Michalczyk says. âThe famous rice and beans example shows how plant-based foods can be combined to make a complete protein that gives you all of the amino acids you need,â she says. There are also a few plant-based items that do offer complete proteins, such as soy , quinoa, and spirulina.
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What Happens When You Don’t Eat Protein Post
As Schehr said, protein is essential to muscle repair. So in theory, not eating protein post-workout means that your muscles don’t have what they need to efficiently and successfully repair.
Schehr confirmed this, saying, “When protein isn’t present in adequate amounts, the muscle is not able to fully repair and grow, which leads to inflammation and an increased risk for injury.”
Naturally, she explains, this inability to repair is the culprit for many overuse injuries that people suffer from: “Many overuse injuries occur from a lack of the proper repair nutrients the body needs to support muscle and tendons and reduce inflammation.”
What To Eat After A Workout
The cornerstone of post-workout nutrition is a careful combination of protein, carbohydrates and fluids. The basic recommendation is to consume 10 to 20 grams of protein after a workout, depending on your body weight, says Bonci. And depending on the type of exercise you completed, adjust your ratio of carbohydrates to protein, she adds.
For instance, after a strength-training workout, aim for a 2-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein . If you completed an endurance workout like jogging, the ratio shifts to 3-to-1 , says Bonci.
Another key component to keep in mind when fueling up post-workout: the intensity and duration of the exercise you just completed.
Recreational exercisers who train two to three times a week for 30 to 45 minutes can easily recover by having their usual balanced meal that contains carbs and protein , such as oatmeal and eggs, yogurt and granola, a sandwich and milk, or chicken and rice, says Nina Kolbe, a registered dietitian and Forbes Health Advisory Board member.
Meanwhile, those who spend 60 to 70 minutes working out at a higher intensity might benefit from a 200-calorie snack consisting of carbs and protein. And more serious athletes should refuel rapidly, aiming for a much higher-calorie, carbohydrate- and protein-based snack, says Kolbe.
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Current Facts And Figures On Protein And Muscle
When it comes to how much protein you need after a workout, personal trainers and registered dietitians pretty much agree you should aim for 1.2 to 1.7g of protein per kilogram of body weight every day if youre looking to bulk up . If youre shooting to consume protein somewhere in that range, like 120g per day, divide that into four separate meals that youll eat roughly four hours apart. This way youre getting upwards of 30g of protein at every meal, which fuels your muscles with leucine .
Research also suggests theres a protein ceiling. In other words, theres a cap on how much protein your body can use in one sitting to build and repair muscle. For a 175-lb man, its about 30g of protein for bigger guys, like someone whos 250 pounds, protein intake should rise to about 42g.
In this study, published in Physiological Reports, researchers recruited 30 young, resistance exercisetrained men and divided them into two groupsone with lower lean body mass of less than 143 pounds and one with higher lean body mass of more than 154 pounds .
All volunteers participated in two trials in which they consumed protein after a full-body weightlifting routine.* In one trial, the men consumed 20g of whey protein in the second, they consumed 40g of whey protein. Scientists measured their muscles ability to grow at an increased rate via metabolic tracers and muscle biopsies.
Now, heres what the new research is refuting:
Supplements To Take With Post
There are several other supplements that should be taken along with post-workout protein powder to enhance protein synthesis and promote greater recovery.
The use of protein powder is certainly essential for proper muscle repair and growth, but its effects can be enhanced through the use of multivitamins and pre-workout supplements. Other specific supplements that aid both growth and recovery include creatine for increasing overall cellular energy, nitric oxide supplements for shuttling key nutrients and oxygen to muscles, and melatonin for promoting better sleep.
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Quick Answer: How Much Whey Protein To Take After Workout
A commonly recommended dosage is 12 scoops per day, usually after workouts. Its recommended that you follow the serving instructions on the packaging. Keep in mind that if your protein intake is already high, adding whey protein on top of your current intake may be completely unnecessary.
With So Many Sports Drinks Bars And More To Choose From How Do You Make The Best Choices
A good sports drink has 14-15 grams of carbohydrate in 8 ounces. It should also have about 110 milligrams of sodium and 30 milligrams of potassium in the same volume.
If you’re exercising to lose weight, stick to water or a “lighter” version of sports drinks with fewer carbs and calories.
Look for energy bars that have about 5 grams of protein, with some carbohydrate and very little fat.
Remember that “energy” means calories, so watch out for high-calorie bars. They are helpful for athletes on the go, so if you can’t eat before a long tennis match, an energy bar can help.
Choose protein powders made from whey protein or milk proteins. Use them within 30 minutes after exercising to provide needed amino acids to muscles.
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The Best Protein Powders
- Fiber: 1g
- Fat: 1.5g
With a variety of available flavors and a decades-long track record of quality, Gold Standard Whey from Optimum Nutrition is your ally in the fight against mediocre protein. Reviewers love the authenticity of the flavorsâthey don’t all just taste the same.
Gold Standard won Bodybuilding.com’s protein and supplement of the year 13 times, and has serious credibility among athletes worldwide. It can be used for muscle building, performance, and recovery, as well as for staying lean.* Other contenders have since entered the market, but Gold Standard Whey remains a solid nutritional choice with a lot of options.
One more awesome thing about Optimum Nutrition is it mixes so easily you can just stir it with a spoon. You don’t even need a shaker bottle . So you have zero excuse to skip your protein, even if all your shaker bottles are in the dishwasher.
- Fiber: 1g
- Fat: 2g
Dymatize ISO100 is an ultra-pure whey protein isolate that has been both filtered and blended with whey hydrolysate, creating a super-fast digesting and absorbing protein with peerless macros. It has had nearly all sugars, carbs, fats, and lactose removed, leaving almost nothing but pure muscle-building protein.*
Customers also rave about the great taste of this protein supplement. When you’re watching your calories, eating super clean, and avoiding junk food, it feels like a treatâbut one that takes you closer to your goals.
- Fiber: 6g
- Fat: 2g
- Fiber: 0g
- Fat: 2g
- Fiber: 0g
- Fat: 0g