Post workout nutrition – Window of opportunity
Post workout nutrition – Window of opportunity: Regardless of the mode of exercise, post-exercise nutrition should be given importance in order to provide the muscle with the raw materials it needs. As all types of exercise use carbohydrates for energy, muscle carbohydrate depletion is inevitable. Therefore a post-workout meal high in carbohydrates is required to refill muscle carbohydrate/energy stores.
However any amount of carbohydrates will not do. One need to consume enough carbohydrates to promote a substantial insulin release. Insulin is the hormone responsible for shuttling carbohydrates and amino acids into the muscle. In doing this, carbohydrate re-synthesis is accelerated and protein balance becomes positive, leading to rapid repair of the muscle tissue.
Therefore, by consuming a large amount of carbohydrates, you will promote a large insulin release, increase glycogen storage, and increase protein repair. Research has shown that a carbohydrate intake of 0.8 to 1.2 grams per 1 kilogram of body weight maximizes glycogen synthesis and accelerates protein repair. However, this depends on the workout intensity. Excess carbohydrate can be converted to body fat.
Thus, 0.8g of carbohydrate per 1 kilogram of body weight is recommended safe for speeding up muscle carbohydrate replenishment while preventing excess fat gain (van Loon et al 2000a).
In addition, since muscle protein is degraded during exercise, the addition of a relatively large amount of protein to your post exercise meal is necessary to help rebuild the structural aspects of the muscle. After exercise, the body decreases its rate of protein synthesis and increases its rate of protein breakdown. However, the provision of protein and amino acid solutions has been shown to reverse this trend and is thus beneficial when taken post workout. Thus a good amount of 20 – 30 g protein should help with the same.
Post workout meals should be designed to promote the most rapid delivery of carbohydrates and protein to your depleted muscles, fats should be avoided during this time.
While post-workout meals should be rich protein and carbohydrate, this meal should be fat free. Since fat slows down transit through the stomach, eating fat during the post workout period may slow the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and proteins.
Finally, another important factor to consider is the timing of this meal. It is absolutely crucial that you consume your post-workout meal immediately after exercise. As indicated above, after exercise, the muscles are depleted and require an abundance of protein and carbohydrate. In addition, during this time, the muscles are biochemically “primed” for nutrient uptake.
This phenomenon is commonly known as the “window of opportunity”. Over the course of the recovery period, this window gradually closes and by failing to eat immediately after exercise, you diminish your chances of promoting full recovery. If you wait too long, glycogen replenishment and protein repair will be compromised.
While the above article guides you to eating healthier, there is no substitute for customized professional advice given by a qualified nutritionist. We urge you to speak to your personal dietician or if you need help, contact a nutritionist at Qua Nutrition.
You can contact us at 080 3232 9292 or log on to www.quanutrition.com to Book An Appointment.