You may be overwhelmed with the amount of (often conflicting) advice we are exposed to for when to work out, how to do it, what to eat and when, and so on and so on. There is a lot of great advice out there, but sometimes it gets drowned out by the newest fad or marketing spin.
Cynthia Sass, a sports nutritionist, recently wrote an article for Time Magazine entitled 6 Rules for Post-Workout Meals. She offers some simple advice that just makes sense.
- Eat within 30-60 minutes of a hard workout. If you have hard an especially challenging workout, a good, nutritious meal can give your muscles, joints, and bones the materials they need to recover and stay strong.
- Think beyond protein. Sass says:”Protein is a building block of muscle, so it is important after exercise, but an ideal recovery meal should also include good fat (also needed for healing muscles and joints), as well as plenty of nutrient-rich produce and a healthy source of starch such as quinoa, sweet potato or beans. These foods replenish nutrients that have been depleted and provide energy to fuel your post-exercise metabolism. “
- Keep it real. Avoid highly processed food, and keep your focus on clean, nutrient-rich, whole foods. This will give your body what it needs to function at its best.
- Don’t overcompensate. Most of us are trying to either lose or maintain weight. Be careful not to overestimate how many calories you burned and thus how many extra calories you should feel free to let into your diet. A fancy coffee with whip can easily blow past the 300-500 calories you burned in an hour at the gym.
- Rehydrate. According to Sass: “If you sweat heavily, exercise in high humidity (which prevents cooling of the body), or your workouts last longer than 60 minutes, you probably need a sports drink rather than plain water during exercise. These beverages are designed to keep you well hydrated, but they also provide electrolytes to replace those lost in your sweat (like sodium, which makes sweat salty, and potassium, which helps regulate heart rhythm), as well as fuel to keep you going. If your workouts are less strenuous, shorter, climate-controlled or not so sweaty, plain H2O is probably fine.” You should drink water before, during, and after your workout. If you lose body weight due to fluid loss, or have urine that is no longer pale, you should be drinking more water.
- Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol can speed up the amount of muscle loss after a workout, as well as the amount of muscle strength. This can result in less power and endurance during your next workout, so alcohol should only be used in moderation, and only after eating.
Absolute Wellness Center in Eugene, OR offers chiropractic medicine, sports medicine, naturopathic medicine, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, and massage therapy. If you are interested in learning more, improving your health and athletic performance, or recovering from a sports injury, please give us a call at 541-484-5777.