Feb 10, 2012

Post Exercise Nutrition: Refueling your body for optimal performance

Do you know what it feels like to run out of fuel?  Maybe you get a muscle cramp, or you feel like you are dragging 50 lb dumbells around your ankles while you're trying to sprint . . .or, you are sore and stiff on a daily basis.  It is very important to understand that this does not necessarily have to be the case.

Eating after a workout is the most important meal of the day and is one of the best ways to take the "post-workout blues" head on!  Full recovery from an intense WOD is impossible without the replenishment of both food and liquid . . .

The importance of carbohydrates:  A lot of crossfit athletes are heading towards the Paleo lifestyle these days. But, you have to realize that if you hit a wall a lot of the times it's because your body's primary fuel source, muscle glycogen, needs to be replenished.  The way to do this is by taking in carbohydrates.  These carbs should be moderate to high glycemic index, low-fiber and can be obtained through solid foods and/or beverages.

Protein is crucial, too.  Protein is important because it provides the necessary amino acids for the muscle cells to repair and develop.  Protein intake should be larger than your carb intake.  About a 3:1 ratio.  Protein can come from solid foods and/or beverages as long as it is low in fat, as fat will slow the absorption of needed nutrients.

Rehydrating the body:  We lose a lot of fluids through sweat.  Refueling the body with fluids aids in the prevention of fatigue, dehydration and injury.  You should drink immediately a half-liter (about two cups) of non-alcoholic fluid and continue to consume fluids throughout the remainder of the day.

Proper meal timing:  You should eat your recovery food(s) as soon as possible after exercise, and wait no longer than one hour to do so.

The goal of recovery nutrition is to prepare the body for your next WOD.  Skipping this meal could hurt your next performance and leave you feeling frustrated, tired and possibly injured.

*PFP magazine.  January-February issue.

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