What should you eat and drink after workout?
Well, the simple answer is that it depends.
When you do intense exercise, your body uses glycogen (a longstring of glucose molecules) to fuel your body with energy. When your body uses this glycogen, it drain it’s stores, which are located mainly in your skeletal muscle tissue and the liver.
Research on glycogen usage and depletion has shown that up to 40 percent of your glycogen stores can be used up during intense training.
So you pusched your self to the limit, you went to depth on every squat rep and pushed your reverse lunges to failure. Your quads are beat and your hamstrings burn. Your workout was tough, but you didn’t build any muscles.
The opportunity for muscle growth begins the moment you stop lifting, and that growth can’t happen without proper recovery. Muscles don’t grow during your workout; they grow after. When you lift heavy, muscles suffer microtears and are actually broken down. Immediately after you lift, your body begins repairs, but it needs your help.
If you want to get the most from each and every workout, you need to prioritize post-workout recovery.
So what do you need after a tough workout?
Digestion is a lengthy process; proteins and carbs that you ingest prior to the workout will still be circulating in the body afterward. That means that your post-workout depends on what you had to eat before your workout.
Make sure you get high-quality, lean protein along with some carbohydrates, especially if you plan on an intense workout. I recommend consuming your meals roughly two-three hours prior to your workout to avoid digestive issues. In addition to eating near your workouts, there have been substantial reported benefits of taking BCAAs before and during a workout, as well.
Post-workout protein is vital, especially if you haven’t eaten anything before your workout. Aim for 20-50 grams of protein after each workout depending on your bodyweight. Most women will do fine with 20 grams, while men should aim for the upper range depending on the workout, you should also add some fast-acting carbohydrates during your post-workout window to replenish glycogen levels, restore energy, and bump up insulin levels.
What you eat both before and after your workout has a huge impact on your results and recovery. It’s therefore important to plan what to eat and drink, both before and after your workout. This is to make sure that your body gets all the protein and fast-acting carbohydrates that it needs during your post-workout to recover faster and to build muscles.