Must Do This After Exercise
a strenuous workout, your body needs more than water. It also needs
carbohydrates to rebuild worn muscles and prime your body for the next
training. If you don't eat the right food after exercise or if you skip
the post-exercise meal, it will actually hurt you.
American College of Sports Medicine, the American Dietetic Association,
and the Dietitians of Canada reviewed two decades of research, which
unequivocally showed that the right food in our Atkins-fueled society
is none other than carbohydrates.
"You never think that
you can just continue to ride your car without ever going to the gas
station," Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist of the American
Council on Exercise, told The Associated Press. "We can't expect to be
able to continue to exercise our bodies without refueling them."
as glycogen in muscle cells, carbohydrates are the main source of
energy during physical activity. When we exercise, the glycogen
reserves become depleted. Only carbs will replenish them. If you skip
the post-workout meal, your muscles will breakdown and you'll feel more
fatigued during the next workout.
What carbs should you eat? Pasta, English muffins, oatmeal,
whole-grain cereals, and low-fat yogurt are ideal post-training food.
How much should you eat? The
amount you need depends on the duration and intensity of your workout,
as well as when the next training session will occur, notes AP.
Obviously, a marathoner needs more than a gym rat. The general
guideline is a half-gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. So
a 150-pound person should eat about 75 grams of carbs or the equivalent
of a cup of cooked pasta.
When should you eat it? Ideally,
the post-exercise meal should be consumed 30 minutes to an hour after
vigorous exercise because this is when the body acts like a sponge to
absorb the nutrients.
What about protein? While protein
will help repair muscle, carbohydrates are king when it comes to
helping the body recoup. Eating too much protein will slow rehydration.
Will all those carbs make you fat? No! "This isn't going
to sabotage weight-loss efforts," Bryant told AP. "If anything, it will
allow you to be more productive in your exercise, which in the long
term is going to help you with your weight-loss efforts."