It really amazes me how many people put in the hard work at the gym and then totally neglect the post workout nutrition window. If you don’t know by now, it’s your nutrition and recovery time that yield the results you desire. The exercise itself is just the physical stimulus. So my hope in this short article series is to help you understand the importance of post workout nutrition so that you can be more efficient in achieving your fitness goals.
Let’s dig in and see why your post workout nutrition is so important.
Whenever you perform a vigorous workout or exercise session your body uses muscle carbohydrate stores and proceeds to break down protein structures. The body then signals that it needs to rebuild. This is obviously a simplified explanation but it helps you get the picture. If you are not providing any carbs or protein after your workout how can the body rebuild? The answer is it can’t. It’s like expecting a builder to remodel a home with no materials or bricks. Neglecting the post workout nutrition window will never let you to reach your peak performance or full muscular potential.
Everyone should focus on post workout nutrition because all exercise uses carbohydrates as energy. So how many carbs should I consume post workout? Great question, here is a breakdown depending on your bodyweight.
Research recommends that a carbohydrate intake of 0.8 to 1.2 grams per 1 kilogram of body weight.
To be honest I think the 1.2 might be a little high, and realize that excess carbohydrate will be stored as body fat. So unless you are doing a very intense training session I would stick with closer to the 0.8. So for a 200 pound person that would mean around 72 grams of carbs.
Now that we have addressed the carbohydrate portion we can’t forget about the proteins, which are the building blocks to muscle.
Researchers have recommended anywhere from 0.2g – 0.4g of protein per 1 kilogram of body weight. Which means that same 200 pound person should aim for around 18 – 36 grams of protein.
My personal recommendation based on years of experience and working with many clients is to keep the carbohydrate portion a little more modest and the protein intake towards the upper level. So if I was working with this 200 pound individual (depending on how well they handle carbohydrates), I would recommend their post workout nutrition to consist of around 50 grams of carbohydrate and 40-50 grams of protein.
Stay tuned for the next part of this series where I will discuss the best way to ingest your post workout nutrients, different carb and protein sources, how soon after your workout you should consume carbs and proteins, as well as address the question of using fats after your training sessions.