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Nutrient Timing Part 3 - Post Workout Nutrition
Part 3: Post-Workout Nutrition
by Tom Jordan MS, RD
What’s the most important part of a runner's workout schedule? Is it the tempo run? Interval repeats? The long run?
You might be surprised that for many runners, the highest impact change they could make to their endurance and performance might not be during their training sessions but what they do in the 60-90 minutes following their workouts.
Consider this: the whole concept of training is to place stress on our bones, tissues, and cardiovascular system. In reality, our workouts are designed to damage our muscle tissues and create small microtears in muscles…. that over the next 24-48 hours our bodies will work to not only repair—but to make the tissues even stronger. And Viola!, We get Stronger and Faster! So the bottom line is that it’s not your workout that makes you more fit, but the adaptations or improvements your body makes in response to your workouts.
So where does nutrition come in? Serious athletes have learned what you put in your body in the 60-90 minutes after a workout can make all the difference between stepping it up to the next level of fitness and getting stuck in either a plateau or even worse overtraining and burnout. Researchers have coined the term “metabolic window,” indicating that our metabolism is heightened in the hour after a workout and our muscles are like a sponge—ready to soak up any nutrition we can provide for recovery. Study after study has shown that optimal refueling after workouts can not only help us recover quicker, but can also help improve the gains we see from our workouts. In addition, it is a key component to improving body composition (maintaining lean muscle mass, while reducing body fat).
These are the key components to bouncing back quicker from hard workouts, reducing muscle breakdown, accelerating body fat loss, and improving performance:
How Much? The best way to track this is to weigh in before and after the workout. For every pound lost in the workout, make sure to consume approximately 16 ounces of fluid. For light sweaters, water loss might be minimal, but heavy sweaters could lose several pounds of water weight on a hot and humid day.
How Much? Research has shown that an optimal effect from carbs occurs at about 1g of Carb per Kilogram of Body Weight. Which means—divide your weight in half, and this is the optimal grams of carbohydrate to optimize recovery. For an individual also looking to improve body composition, we reduce this to 45-60 grams of carbs, and for weight loss we recommend 30-45 grams of carbs. At this level, you will still be getting most of the recovery effect without adding additional calories to your meal plan.
How Much? 20-30 grams of protein will provide the optimal amount for recovery. This is the equivalent to 3-4 ounces of meat or 1 scoop of whey protein.
Clickable Resources Below:
Email Tom FHAnutrition@sbcglobal.net