protein

Best Post Workout Meals: Part 2

Workout Food

In our last post, we learned how important it is to eat post-working out. In this second installment, we learn how the right balance of foods can help you recover after exercise.

After your workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow muscle proteins.

Eating the right nutrients soon after you exercise can help your body get this done faster. It is particularly important to eat carbs and protein after your workout.

Doing this helps your body:

• Decrease muscle protein breakdown

• Increase muscle protein synthesis (growth)

• Restore glycogen stores

• Enhance recovery

Protein Helps Repair and Build Muscle

Exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein and even the most advanced athletes experience muscle protein breakdown.

Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also gives you the building blocks required to build new muscle tissue.

Studies have shown that depending on your body type, ingesting 20–40 grams of protein maximizes the body's ability to recover after exercise.

Carbs Help With Recovery

Your body's glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish them.

The rate at which your glycogen stores are used depends on the activity. For example, endurance sports cause your body to use more glycogen than resistance training.

For this reason, if you participate in endurance sports (e.g. running or swimming), you might need to consume more carbs than a bodybuilder.

Eating plenty of carbs to rebuild glycogen stores is most important for people who exercise often, such as twice in the same day. If you have 1 or 2 days to rest between workouts then this becomes less important.

Fat Is Not That Bad

Many people think that eating fat after a workout slows down digestion and inhibits the absorption of nutrients. While fat might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal, it will not reduce its benefits.

For example, a study showed that whole milk was more effective at promoting muscle growth after a workout than skim milk.

Moreover, another study showed that even when ingesting a high-fat meal (45% energy from fat) after working out, muscle glycogen synthesis was not affected.

It might be a good idea to limit the amount of fat you eat after exercise, but having some fat in your post-workout meal will not affect your recovery.

5 Signs You Aren’t Getting Enough Protein

Steak Protein

Here are some unexpected signs that you might have a protein deficiency: 
 
1. You feel weak
Muscle weakness and loss of existing muscle are signs that you may not be eating enough protein. When you don’t eat enough protein, your body will break down muscle to use as fuel and energy. Loss of muscle mass can slow down your metabolism, too. 
 
2. You often get sick
Protein is an essential part of a healthy immune system. When you do not eat enough protein, your body utilizes the T cells (germ fighters) in your body as fuel that would typically combat cold and flus. This may result in you getting sick more frequently. You may also take longer to recover from cuts, scrapes and infections.
 
3. You are always hungry
There are a variety of reasons why you might be hungry, including dehydration, but you might also be lacking adequate protein in your diet. If you find that you are always hungry, or that you need a snack or two between meals, this might be your body’s way of telling you that you need to eat more protein at each meal. Protein evens out blood sugar and keeps you feeling satisfied until your next meal.
 
4. You crave desserts
If you are not just hungry, but you also specifically crave sweets, you might need more protein. Because protein regulates blood sugar and glucose levels, lack of protein might lead you to reach for a sweet treat. If you eat protein at each meal, you are less likely to have highs and lows with your blood sugar and those associated cravings.
 
5. You are tired
If you don’t get enough sleep or if you overexert yourself at work, home or the gym, you probably feel tired quite often. However, if you are tired in the middle of the day, your blood sugar and protein levels might be to blame. Instead of taking a nap, which is not an option for most people, reach for a protein-rich snack and watch your energy levels improve.