Dubai Fitness Challenge 2022: All you need to know about post-workout nutrition – News

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Just done with your workout? Here’s a guide on what and when to eat



By CT Desk

Published: Sat 5 Nov 2022, 11:36 AM

Dubai Fitness Challenge is here and that means 30 days of consecutive workouts. And with the workouts, it is only essential that you also take care of nutrition, after all, we are what we eat. Planning meals around your workouts not only gives the best results, but also helps replenish energy, helping us charge for the next session.

No matter your goal – be it bulking, carving a lean physique, or strength and endurance training – it is vital to know what, when, and how much exactly your body needs to accomplish said goals. And since every body reacts differently to exercise and nutrition, having knowledge about your nutrition is absolutely important.

Here’s a guide on nutrition that will help you maximise the benefits of regular exercise.

What nutrients do you need post-workout?

The main goal of post-workout nutrition is to recover and maintain your muscles as well as repair any damage caused by the workouts. It helps improve performance and enables us to train harder the next time. More specifically, the food you eat should help replenish your energy stores, decrease protein breakdown in the body and increase protein synthesis (or to put it more simply, muscle building).

Don’t skimp on protein

It doesn’t matter if you have just been out for a long run or endured a heavy weights session – your body needs protein as exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis rates, and triggers muscle building. If you want to build more muscle and get toned, then remember that muscle gain can’t occur until your protein synthesis rate is greater than its breakdown.

After a workout, aim to include around 20-30g of protein in a meal or snack, for example whey protein which is easily digested and a rich source of leucine, an amino acid proven to be especially important for protein synthesis.

Do you need carbs?

There are many debates over carbs aka carbohydrates and if they are necessary after a workout, and the benefits from carbs that depend on training, its intensity and when you last ate. But the answer is yes. Carbs raise insulin which may aid muscle protein synthesis and recovery. Another benefit, particularly for high-intensity or endurance exercise, is that carbs help replenish glycogen stores and reduce fatigue. Your choice of carbs may depend on when you next want to train. Quick-releasing carbohydrates such as a banana, oats or toast are a good option. A small amount should suffice.

Hydration

Post-workout, don’t overlook the importance of hydration. In fact, always stay hydrated. While it’s likely you will be consuming fluids during exercise, you still need to consider post-workout drinks. Electrolyte drinks are beneficial as they will also provide sodium, potassium and magnesium, but sports recovery drinks are by no means a necessity.

A couple of glasses of water will be sufficient.

When should I eat post-workout?

After every workout, your metabolism will spike so it is the perfect time to replenish energy stores when your body needs nutrition most. A higher metabolic rate will generally burn more calories but muscles need to recover and replenish lost glycogen, so a post-workout meal should contain carbohydrates as well as protein.

While the rule of exercising on an empty stomach or after an overnight fast is a sure fire way to boost your workout’s fat-burning potential, the same applies to eating as soon as possible after you have exercised.

If you find it hard to exercise on an empty stomach in the morning or evening, choose a light meal of granola, yogurt and berries for breakfast or some grilled lean chicken breast and vegetables for dinner. Always try to leave at least an hour after eating before hitting the gym or taking part in sport.

Exercise can be an appetite suppressant, particularly when running and cycling, so try to take on something easily digestible like fruit or yogurt for a quick energy boost.

Foods to avoid post-workout.

We’ve all been there — you finish a sweat-busting workout, walk out of the gym and you feel invincible. But while you need food post-workout to restore your energy and build muscle, the wrong kind can undo the hard work you just put in.

It is important – in the critical time post work-out when your body is repairing itself – to avoid foods that are hard to digest, full of sugar, or loaded with saturated fat. Spicy foods, for example, are hard to digest, and you’ll want to stay away from these choices. Furthermore, skip the oils, seeds, anything fried, and even nuts after your workout as fat acts to slow the digestion process in the gut and will, therefore, delay the delivery of much-needed nutrients into the muscles. Don’t be fooled by promotional energy bars and sports drinks on sale in your gym either, often they are ultra processed and loaded with heavily refined sugars and syrups.

Caffeine after a workout is another no-no. While it may offer the perfect natural stimulant before a session, it can encourage dehydration when your body needs to replenish fluid after all that sweating during exercise.