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Post-Exercise Snacking

by ADMIN on NOVEMBER 9, 2011

So you just finished your workout and your starving… what should you eat?!

First of all, I hope you ate something before your workout!

If you’re an avid daily (or bi-daily!) exerciser, providing your body with nutrients to recover is very important. This will help your body replenish glycogen stores (carbohydrates your body stores to use during exercise), repair and rebuild muscle, and help rehydrate.

In fact, your body is working its hardest and fastest to replenish glycogen stores within the 30 to 45 minutes after you finish a workout. During this time, it’s best to have a carbohydrate-rich snack with a smidge of protein. Protein actually helps your body store glycogen more efficiently.

Good Carbohydrate-Protein Combo Snacks:

  • Low fat or fat free chocolate milk (perfect carb-protein recovery fuel!)

  • A bowl of corn flakes with fat free or low fat milk

  • 8 oz orange juice and half a bagel

  • Low fat or fat free yogurt with a piece of fruit

  • A couple slices of turkey with a slice of whole grain bread

  • Low fat cottage cheese and fruit

  • Cheese and crackers

  • Pretzels and a bit of peanut butter

  • Commercial Recovery drink with a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs:protein

How much recovery fuel do you need?

  • Women: 150 – 200 calories

  • Men: 300 – 400 calories

Refueling right away speeds recovery and helps prepare your body for your next workout or competition. This is especially important when your working out again on the same day or within 24 hours. If you’re trying to build muscle, recovery fuel is also an important aspect of your diet.

However, if your next exercise or training session is more than 24 hours away, you don’t necessarily need to worry about eating within 30 minutes. Your body will be able to slowly and naturally build back up your glycogen stores over the next 24+ hours so that you’re ready to go!

One last benefit of a post-workout snack:

If your meal is more than an hour away, grab a granola bar or piece of fruit to munch on after your workout. This will help prevent you from getting too hungry before your next meal, which in turn helps to prevent overeating. Score!

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