Have you ever finished a training session or workout and gone straight to bed or work? Have you purposely skipped a meal after training to try and get that summer body? Well in the same way that you wouldn’t forget to bring your shoes to training (hopefully), you should never miss your post-training nutrition.
Generally speaking, there are 3 specific goals of post-training nutrition which can be easily be remembered as the 3 R’s Refuel, Rebuild and Rehydrate.
Refuelling after your workout refers to your need to replenish your muscle glycogen stores with carbohydrates. Glycogen is stored in your muscles, and is the primary source of energy for high-intensity, short duration exercise including repeated sprints, strength and power training. Consuming carbohydrates post-training is important for preparing your body for the next training session, and even more so for athletes who have heavy back-to-back training sessions or events. Recommendations: Aim for between 1.0 – 1.5g of carbohydrate per kg body weight you are, within 60 minutes of finishing your training session.
Whether its endurance, strength or power training, your muscles will obtain some form of micro tears that need repairing. Even more so when your goal is to put on muscle mass, ingesting protein post-training will help to initiate these repair and rebuilding processes and ultimately can lead to muscle growth. Protein consists of amino acids, which at the basic level are the building blocks of muscle fibres. In total, there are 20 amino acids your body requires, but only 9 of them are essential (meaning your body can’t make them and therefore you must get them from food). Your best bet is to consume your protein from high-quality sources such as meat, fish, dairy and eggs, as these are defined as the foods
that contain all 9 of the essential amino acids. For all of the vegans and vegetarians out there, don’t stress as there are a few protein options for you too, you may just need to eat more of them to obtain the same level of protein.
Try for 20-40g of high-quality protein within 60 minutes of finishing your training
Rehydrate is exactly that… drink enough water after your session to regain your hydration status. Depending on the training session, we can lose a substantial amount of fluid through sweating. This can cause increased blood pressure, dizziness, headaches and impaired mental and physical performance. Unfortunately, there is no general recommendation for fluid consumption post-training as it will depend on the individual, duration of the exercise, how much you sweated and the temperature you trained in.
Recommendations: Determine your own specific hydration requirements by calculating your sweat rate. This can be as simple as weighing yourself before and after a training session. Use a 1:1 ratio, for every g of body weight lost, consume 1ml of water. If you have another event or training session within 8 hours, drink 1.5x body weight lost in the following 4-6 hours post-training.
Determine your own specific hydration requirements by calculating your sweat rate.
This can be as simple as weighing yourself before and after a training session. Use a 1:1 ratio, for every g of body weight lost, consume 1ml of water. If you have another event or training session within 8 hours, drink 1.5x body weight lost in the following 4-6 hours post-training.
SO WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE IN FOOD?
So now that we’ve gone through the science and guidelines, what does all of that look like in real life? Luckily I’m about to share with some really easy foods, drinks and supplements that can help you nail your post-training nutrition.
1. Cow’s milk – it really is that simple! Nature is fantastic sometimes and has provided us with the perfect cocktail of nutrients in one beverage. Drinking 500ml of cow’s milk post-training will have you sitting at 18g protein, 30g carbohydrates, plus it’s all fluid!
2. Smoothie – this one here is personally my favourite. Smoothies are so simple to prepare and blitz together after training, and they again contain the trifecta of protein, carbohydrates and fluid! Plus you can make them however you like! My go-to combination is banana, frozen berries, milk, 1 scoop protein powder and some oats. But have a go at different fruits, yoghurt, dates, nuts and spinach to find something you like!
3. Yoghurt – Another simple food item that’ll tick 2 out of the 3 boxes. Choose a high-protein yoghurt such as Chobani or YoPro and add some berries and muesli on top. Don’t forget to drink water with this one!
4. Sandwich – let’s not get too fancy here. A post-training meal can be as simple as packing a sliced chicken and salad sandwich and having that with some water. Make sure your sandwich does have some form of protein on it, as a vegemite sanga just won’t hit the nail on the head.
5. Tuna & Crackers – again its nothing special but I promise you, you will be feeling so much better in the days to come if you can add this one to your post-training routine. A tin of tuna on some crackers with a piece of fruit and some fluids with be ticking all your boxes, is super easy to pack and has the added benefits of omega 3’s in recovery (another topic to be discussed at a later date!).
6. Supplements – dare I say it! While I don’t promote supplements above real food, there’s a time and a place for everything. If you’re the sort of person that doesn’t have time to make something, or possible struggles to stomach solid foods after a session, then the supplement industry has created just about 450 trillion billion products for you!!
My recommendation for choosing a product is go for something simple. Look for a recovery shake with around 20g of protein and 30g of carbohydrates, anything else it promotes will most likely be a myth! If you’re also finding it overwhelming to know which brand and product to go for, a simple Up&Go Energise will do the trick!
So there you have it, some simple tips and tricks for nailing your post-training nutrition and recovery. Make sure you look at what you’re currently doing and see if it’s ticking all of the boxes, and if you aren’t currently having anything after your sessions, today is the day to start!