Thursday, October 19, 2006

Post Workout Nutrition

After a hard workout your first goal should be to re-hydrate yourself with fresh water, then immediately replenish your depleted glycogen stores and offset protein catabolism. The simplest and most convenient way to accomplish this is to consume simple carbohydrates along with some liquid protein. This can be achieved quite easily by drinking some fruit juice mixed with a whey protein (in a isolate and concentrate form) or some kind of milk (cow, rice or almond). There is no need for any fancy post-workout supplements or expensive sports drink (unless that is what you prefer) to achieve your immediate nutritional needs. Grape juice would probably be the first juice of choice since it is quite high in sugars but any fruit juice will do just fine. If you enjoy cow’s milk and can easily digest it, then drinking down a glass or two of low or non-fat milk or even condensed milk (which is GREAT because it is convenient to carry with you) would work equally as well. In fact, the extra source of protein that milk provides is also beneficial immediately after you workout, but keep in mind that fats are kept to a minimum during this time. Other options include making a shake consisting of some liquid protein and carbohydrates along with some fresh or frozen fruits.

Now, after drinking your water and restoring your glycogen levels you can hit the showers, relax for a bit and sit down to a nice meal. Your post workout meal is one of the most important if not THE most important meal on your training day. This is where you give your body the nutrients it needs to repair itself from the work you just imposed on it in the gym. Your meal should be eaten approximately 2 hours after the completion of your strength workout and should consist of lean proteins*, complex carbohydrates*, vegetables* and essential fatty acids (EFA’s)*. This is a MUST meal folks and one that should not be overlooked or taken lightly. Whether your goal is to lose body fat, maintain weight or increase muscle mass, this is an important meal which fuels your body so it can repair itself from the stress of your workout.

Remember, training in the gym is merely one aspect of improving your overall health, mind and body.

Here are a few examples of the higher nutrient dense foods you may want to try. Remember, when selecting foods you want to eat foods that offer you the “biggest bang for the buck” when it comes to nutritional value as well as select organic or locally grown foods when you can. Again, this is not a limiting list but merely suggestions.

Protein Sources

Lean meat: top round, eye round, filet mignon from beef or buffalo, lean pork, game
White meat from poultry: chicken, turkey
Fish: preferably cold water such as wild salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines.
tuna, flounder, snapper etc are also fine.
Dairy: non or lowfat dairy such as yogurt, hard cheeses, cottage cheese and milk
Powders: Whey protein from isolate and concentrate

Carbohydrate Sources

Whole grains: whole wheat, amaranth, oat, millet, quinoa, spelt, brown rice
Legumes: kidney beans, lentils, chic peas, green peas
Vegetables: carrots, romaine lettuce, spinach, celery, squash, broccoli (an endless list of non starchy veggies), potatoes, yams
Fruits: melons and berries are first choices, kiwi, pineapple, etc.

Fat Sources

Oils: flax, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), almond, extra virgin coconut
Seeds: RAW pumpkin, hemp, flax
Nuts: RAW almond, walnut, Brazil
Cold Water Fish

Please keep in mind that the lists above are merely a sample of good, healthy foods and can and should be expanded upon for your overall health and palatable delight.

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola