Workout. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
You just hit the gym, cycled all day, took a run, hiked a mountain– now what? You feel tired, jittery, muscles are fatigued, a little hungry (or not?). To eat, or not to eat? This is a very common question I get and the most common response is, “it depends”. First things first—you don’t need supplements to live, and that includes some supplements I’m going to mention below. You do, however, need food to live. And to add to that, you need to consume real, non-processed whole food (i.e. does it grow on the ground, can be picked from a tree, can swim, fly or walk on ground?). You can function on processed food (think breads, cereals, chips, cookies, bars, sodas, etc) but chances are you won’t be at your ideal weight, you’ll feel horrible and you’ll probably stink 😉 Your body is super smart and can figure out how to pull nutrients from junky foods but it may be the cost of your health and years to your life. If you put good food in however, good stuff comes out! The same can be said about supplements—if you add the right supplements to a healthy diet you can get to those goals a little sooner whether they be wellness, relaxation, immunity, fitness or weight loss. Let’s get back to business…what to eat after we workout!
Let’s break it down based on the individual:
- This is for the no thanks, I’m not hungry after I work out person: To help replenish your hard earned buns and guns not eating could work against you. What does the body do if it doesn’t get fuel through good nutrition you may ask, it may break down fuel already in the body. If you just burned through all your energy stores your body is so smart it may start breaking down muscle to get what it needs. Therefore, at the very least, try to get your hands on some easily digestible protein and carbs such as a protein shake. At Core Physique, we keep it easy for you to grab and eat. Aim for the Recover post workout drink (on the Performance line on the front desk counter), the Core Power shakes (in the fridge), the Shakeology packets (on the counter) and you can always add the carbonated goodness drinks made by Fitaid (in the fridge). All of these products will not only help you recover and rebuild muscle but will help future workouts as it’s important to consistently fuel your body before your next workout!
- For the must eat a meal as soon as I get done kind of person: Aim for a handful or two (based on size and goals) of lean protein, ½ plate of veggies and a serving or two of healthy carbohydrates (quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, fruit, etc). Keep the fat down a bit immediately following a workout otherwise the carbs and protein won’t be absorbed well as your body will be trying to break down the fats if too high.
- For the guy out there (or gal) looking to maximize gains and grow muscle: Calories! One must eat more to make gains! Period! As already mentioned, it’s important to provide your body with protein as it’s broken down to amino acids which help your body to rebuild and grow your hard earned muscle. Whether you eat food with protein and carbs or consume a recovery shake both will do the trick. To take advantage of your sleeping time (where your body does most of the repairing), adding additional slow-digesting protein can work to your advantage. We like Recharge form the Performance Line (also at the front desk).
- For the endurance sport junkie (triathlons, marathons, hiking Mt. Everest, swimming around an island, etc): Exercise makes you sweat. When you sweat you lose fluids, electrolytes and become dehydrated. Being dehydrated not only can hurt your performance, but make your Period. The more you sweat, the more you need. The obvious is to drink water and if you’re doing a short workout that may be enough. Otherwise adding back in what you lose through sweating (electrolytes) gives your body what it needs to do to function properly and not get dehydrated. Adding a real plate of food or one of the shakes mentioned above will also help your body recover and rebuild muscle from your long endurance workout along with helping to prevent muscle soreness.
Now let’s go eat and crush every workout!
Should you have any question in regards to your nutrition and fitness goals, feel free to reach out to any coach or schedule a free nutrition consult with Natalie!