Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Post Workout Meals - Worth It.

Have you had a Pink Lady Apple? Sheesh. They are like candy. I used to be all Fuji, but I think I've switched over. I'm addicted. I absolutely hate mushy/mealy apples. They make me gag. On the other hand...a crisp cold apple? Yes please. You can't beat that. The Pink Lady will be good to you, promise. You know what else I love? Apple cutters. How easy does a healthy snack get? Apples are a great, inexpensive, healthy snack option for you and your kids! They can be a great grab and go food to take with you to work, school, or to run errands as well. This post was in no way intended to be about apples, but I was just so excited about my afternoon snack, (I had this and a couple slices of deli turkey), that i had to share. Anyways...

Wednesday nights I love to go to spinning. I talk about it all the time, I's because I love it! A lot of the time when I get home it's later in the evening and I'm not all that hungry for a big meal. Sometimes I'm tempted just to go to bed, dinner free, but I know this isn't the best option for me. A lot of the time I end up eating cereal, which I know sounds like a cop out, but it's because the cereal combo I eat is whole grain, low in calories, really high in protein and great for after workout muscle repair.
My cereal combo is 3/4 cup Special K protein plus and 1/2 cup Kashi GoLean Crunch with a cup of skim milk. It ends up being just under 300 calories and about 25 grams of protein. Yum, yum, yum.

So what should you be eating after your workouts? First and foremost, you want to be sure to get enough fluid in you. After sweating through your workout you need to replenish your body fluids. If you want to get technical on how much fluid you're losing you can weigh yourself before and after, and be sure to drink the amount of ounces in water that was lost during your workout. Most moderate exercisers lose about 1 qt (4 cups) of water per hour. With that being said you'd be smart to drink somewhere around 16-20 oz of water after your workout. If you are engaging in an extremely intense exercise, causing you to lose more than 3-4 cups of fluid, you might want to consider replenishing your fluids with a sports drink that has electrolytes in it.

Your post workout meal should replenish about half of the calories that you burned during your workout. So, if you burned 800 calories, a 400 calorie meal would be ideal. You want 60 percent of your calories from your post workout meal to come from carbohydrates. Your glycogen stores have been depleted from your workout, and need to be replaces. Most people think that straight protein is the all you should eat after your workout, but your body needs more carbs than protein at this point. The moderate exerciser should consume around 30-40 grams of carbs. The intense exerciser should consume around 40-50. However, good quality protein is necessary. Your post workout meal should be comprised of about 25 percent protein. For most people this means about 10-20 grams of protein. 
not over eating. Fat doesn't play a big role in muscle recovery, and shouldn't be the focus of your post workout meal.

You will want to eat your meal within thirty minutes to two hours, after you've finished your workout. Your body is constantly working to return to homeostasis, and wants to recover your muscles and their fuel supply back to their normal state. If your appetite doesn't allow you to eat a meal right after you exercise, even a small snack of mainly carbohydrates and protein will do. Remember you're trying to help your muscles repair themselves, so you are primed and ready for your next workout. Smoothies, shakes, and protein bars are great ways to replenish your energy stores, and are easy to eat. I had a professor that swore by 1 percent chocolate milk as a recovery drink for all his athletes because it has the perfect amount of carbs, protein, and fat.

Be careful that you aren't overdoing it on your daily caloric intake. You want to be sure you're planning for these post workout meals, and that you're staying within your caloric ranges.

Some post workout meal ideas are: Toast and peanut butter, Whole wheat pita with hummus, an apple and some almonds, cottage cheese with fruit, yogurt and fruit, an egg white omelet with veggies and a piece of toast, cereal and milk, veggie stir fry with some lean meat, a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, a wheat tortilla with turkey slices and veggies, vegetable soup with a slice of whole wheat bread, wheat crackers and a low fat cheese, a fruit protein smoothie, or brown rice and some chicken, an apple and peanut butter, oatmeal with nut butter, etc.


Benita said...

Amazing. Just what I needed to hear. So one question.. What if you're like me and you work and then go to the gym when you get off at 5, then work out for an hour or so, and haven't eaten dinner yet. Does the calorie count change if you have or haven't eaten dinner?

Merediths said...

Pink lady apples really are amazing. Have you tried Honey crisp apples? Just as fantastic but not quite as tart. I love them both.

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