Post-workout meals have proven to have many health benefits and to be necessary in order to enable the body to go from a catabolic state (muscle breakdown) to an anabolic state (muscle building). Post-workout meals also help to replace glycogen stores, build muscles by promoting muscle protein synthesis and repair damaged tissue as well as supporting immune function, so it’s all pros, right?
In fact not eating post-exercise can cause more harm than good. Recent studies have shown that not eating within 2 hours after a workout can lead to a negative impact on insulin function. For most people, they will be able to see and feel the effects of improper or insufficient refuelling, as their future training sessions may be compromised due to impaired post-workout healing and recovery. Not eating after has been shown to promote muscle breakdown due to the increased cortisol levels experienced within the body post-exercise.
Eating straight after exercise will allow the body to replenish glycogen stores more efficiently as Insulin is deemed to be more sensitive at that time. Because Insulin is more potent straight after a workout, it is best to eat in the 45 minutes following a workout to allow carbohydrates to go straight into your muscles and replenish those glycogen stores. Glycogen is the primary source of fuel used by muscles to produce energy. When carbohydrate intake is diminished or intense exercise is performed, muscles can run out of glycogen stores leaving the body feeling fatigued. Thus the importance of consuming carbohydrates post-workout.
To make the most out of your workout, it is preferable to eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein within the 45 minutes following your workout. A 2:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein is optimal.
Research has shown that the timing of nutrient intake may be more important than the total daily intake of nutrients, with the post-workout period, considered to be the most important part of nutrient timing, because of its ability to improve performance and well as body composition.
DO YOU REALLY NEED TO SUPPLEMENT WITH PROTEIN POST WORKOUT? IF YOU WANT TO BUILD MUSCLE MASS AND IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE?
Supplementing with protein post-exercise has shown to maximise the post-exercise muscle protein synthesis rate, which is the process of building muscle mass. Whey or pea protein is one of the best sources of protein because of its high content branched-chain amino acids and its ability to be absorbed and digested much faster than other protein sources. Protein supplementation is not only required for muscle protein synthesis but it has also shown that when ingested with carbohydrates it results in an increased muscle glycogen re-synthesis compared to a carbohydrate-only meal or supplement. Supplementing with 20-30 grams of protein 45 minutes post-workout is ideal to achieve the above-listed benefits, all EHPlabs protein options provide at least 23 grams of protein per serve and come in a range of delicious flavours.
The convenience and simplicity of a protein supplement can help fulfil your post-workout nutrition needs on the go, and can also be used for meal replacements, if you’re looking to tone up, and are great in smoothies and healthy treats.
Try the ULTIMATE Blessed Choc Coconut smoothie post-workout!