Post Workout Nutrition and Recovery

Workout of the Day--February 29, 2016

18 Minute AMRAP
Run 800m
30 Power Cleans (95/65lbs)
15 Handstand Pushups

 
 Week 1 of the Catacombs Games is in the books. Can't wait for Friday to come around again.

Week 1 of the Catacombs Games is in the books. Can't wait for Friday to come around again.

 

Post Workout Nutrition and Recovery

Some of the most commonly asked questions from athletes as they ramp up their training revolve around how to recover after workouts and how best to fuel for training. This gets even more complicated when the athlete has goals around either weight loss or muscle gain. I do not profess to have the answers to these questions, but I wanted to share some information around this topic to perhaps guide your own research. 

When an athlete is trying to lose weight, often their tendency is to skip eating post workout. Eating less food results in faster weight loss, right? Incorrect.  While a 20 minute workout may not necessitate a full on carb binge, it is a mistake to neglect the efforts that your muscles have put out. Remember, the muscle adaptation happens AFTER the workout during the recovery phase. Without fuel for rebuilding and replacing glycogen stores, you will likely find yourself lacking the desire to workout the next day or at least without the punch to go hard. Not only that, your body goes into conservation mode and holds on to all those stores that you are working so hard to shed.

So what should you eat after a CrossFit workout? Well, the same rules apply that we preach for everyday nutrition. There is no magic bullet of nutrition that will both add 10 pounds of muscle mass in all the right places while shedding 15 pounds of fat in the wrong places. It also has to be fit into your overall nutrition plan. A Progenex shake followed by french fries and donuts will not give you the desired effect. As I always say, nutrition is composed of a thousand little decisions made every single day. So, with that disclaimer, here is a rough guideline.

The objective of post-workout nutrition is to optimize recovery by replenishing glycogen stores and providing protein to begin tissue repair. This improves the results of your next workout, decreases hunger throughout your day, and improves body composition. The two things that will benefit you most after your workout are:

  1. Fast absorbing carbohydrate (fruits, berries, sweet potatoes, rice)
  2. Fast absorbing protein (whey protein or egg protein are ideal)

One easy way to get both of these components is through a post-workout shake using a protein powder like Progenex Recovery. Many companies make great post-workout products. We sell Progenex as it is a reputable and popular brand that is effective and tastes good. It makes it easy to get proper post-workout nutrition. For an average sized male your post-workout shake should contain at least 21 grams of protein and 36 grams of carbohydrate. Smaller or larger athletes can scale those numbers accordingly. In order to get that mix with Progenex Recovery, you will need to mix it with coconut water or add a supplementary carbohydrate source like fruit. 

Alternatively, plan to eat a meal or a good-sized snack in the 30-60 minute post workout window. Is it magic? No. But there is science around the idea that your muscles are most receptive to repair and your body primed for protein synthesis during this period. 

Like everything else, these are only guidelines. You will need to experiment to find what works for you and what is sustainable from a taste and convenience standpoint. And remember that post-workout meals are crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s on an already solid nutrition plan. They aren’t the focus of a solid nutrition plan.