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Eating for recovery: how to eat after a workout


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Summer is for sports

The sun and the warm temperatures are doing wonders for our energy and motivation to work out! To get the most of every sunny day, it’s crucial to help our muscles recover and to restore our energy levels after a workout. Here’s my handy little guide to help your body recover from exercise.

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To eat or not to eat – that is the question

A post-workout snack isn’t always a necessity. You have to have had a sufficiently long and intense training session to need a snack. Also, if you’re not planning on working out again in the next 24 hours, the snack will be of no benefit to either your muscles or your waistline. You’re better off limiting yourself to a full, balanced meal in the 2 hours following your workout.

However, if the workout is of a higher intensity, you’re planning on working out again the next day or the workout lasted more than an hour, the snack becomes a necessity. Our muscles need to replenish their energy reserves (glycogen) for their cells to develop and recover. This process makes your muscles less prone to injuries and able to perform better during your next workout!

 

What, when and how much to eat

Our metabolism is most receptive to nutrients in the 30 minutes following a workout. The ideal snack should contain 30 to 45 grams of carbohydrates and around 10 grams of protein, a 3:1 ratio. If you’re not going home right after your training session, choose a portable snack that can be eaten on-the-go. You can place it in a cooler bag with an icepack to keep it fresh in your workout bag. Here are a few snacks with the ideal carb to protein ratio:

 

Rehydrating yourself after a workout

We often forget that staying hydrated is just as important as snacking. It’s important to drink enough water to recover appropriately. You should aim for approximately 1.25 litres of fluids per kilogram of body weight lost. If you perspired a lot, electrolytes, such as salt, can help your recovery. If you want to know whether or not you’ve had enough water, check the colour of your urine. If you’re well hydrated, it should be clear like lemonade!

 

Trust your inner barometer!

Since so many variables influence our energy needs and our individual recovery, the best indicators of whether or not you need a snack are your inner thirst and hunger signals. By listening to these signals, you’ll be sure to fully recover from your workout!

 

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patience Fruit & Co.

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Science & Fourchette

Annie Ferland is founder and editor of the magazine Science & Fourchette and a nutritionist. Epicurean and a lover of photography, she shares her creations and tips about nutrition on her blog, Science & Fourchette. Her motto: simplify science to put on your plate.

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