Have you ever wondered what you should be eating or drinking after a long or intense bout of exercise? I would bet that you probably have. As strength and conditioning and personal fitness coach in Pensacola, FL, I get asked all the time about what is the best post workout drink or food. Should it be mostly carbohydrates or protein? Should it be in the form of liquid or food?
When it comes to helping your body and your muscles recover and rebuild from an intense exercise bout, timing is king! When you put yourself through an intensive workout, whether it is a morning boot camp or an off-season workout, you are breaking down your muscles. After the session, there is about a 45 minute post-exercise “Window of Opportunity” to optimally repair, nourish and rebuild your muscles and to restore your glycogen stores. To take advantage of the short period of time, it is best to refuel and replenish immediately after your exercise bout. As the minutes pass buy, the window closes a little bit at a time and you can miss out on many of the benefits of post exercise nutrition.
In order for your body to receive the nutrients you consume after an intensive exercise bout, it must be easily digested and absorbed into your bloodstream. For this reason, consuming a liquid supplement containing a rapidly digested protein and carbohydrate is the best option. Including carbohydrates in the recovery diet enhances glycogen replacement and having amino acids (protein) readily available enhances the process of building and repairing muscles (Ivy 2001, Ivy et al. 2002) and reduces soreness (Flakoll et al. 2004).
Below is a list of Benefits you can expect from consuming a recovery drink (Berardi, 2006):
1. Improved recovery from exercise (including better performance in subsequent exercise sessions)
2. Less muscle soreness after exercise
3. Increased ability to build muscle
4. Improved ability to fight off the common cold
5. Improved bone mass and reduced risk of bone weakening with age
6. Improved fat burning with your next exercise session, regardless of the type of exercise.
In order to get the best results from your exercise program, prepare ahead time and take advantage of the muscle repairing window by packing a post workout recovery drink or a quickly absorbed protein and carbohydrate snack. You're body will thank you!
Recommended Post Workout Recovery Drink