e-book What to Do Post-Workout for the Best Results

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This delays the fatigue time and promotes a longer duration of performance, according to research from the Nutrients Journal. Consuming protein-rich foods stimulates the production of new tissues, fibers and cells that enhance muscular strength and density.

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For anabolic exercises, like weightlifting, however, the body needs a balance carbohydrate and protein intake. Because the purpose of this workout regimen is to increase muscle tone and mass, your body needs fuel for those targeted muscles, explains The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Consuming protein-rich foods stimulates the production of new tissues, fibers and cells that enhance muscular strength and density, which makes them especially important for weight lifting.

Here are a few suggestions for good pre-exercise foods. Find out which balance is best for your workout, and then indulge:. For cardio, the timing is broader and can stretch from two hours ahead to just 30 minutes. But given this less structured window, Chin explains that your fuel amounts should differ based on when you choose to eat.

For example, if you eat two hours before your workout, the body needs to grams of carbohydrate and 15 to 20 grams of protein. However, if you eat one hour before, the body needs just 60 to 70 grams of carbohydrate and 5 to 10 grams of protein. In the post-workout recovery phase, eating as soon as the body is able following the workout provides several benefits. Physical exertion burns through electrolytes, calories and glycogen, so these depleted energy stores need to be replenished through nutrition.

After the workout, you should always aim for a combination of these macronutrients because, whether you focus on endurance or resistance training, your goal is to increase muscle hypertrophy. To make that happen, the muscles harden and strengthen with protein synthesis, suggests The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. This accelerates recovery and optimizes the results you see.

What to Do After a Workout | HealthyWomen

A baseline for water consumption is to drink 2 to 3 cups two hours before a workout, then another cup between five and 10 minutes before you start moving, according to the University of Colorado Hospital. Use these tips and suggestions to give your body what it needs after a workout. When you get your pre- and post-workout meals set up just right, you give your muscles what they need to grow so you can see the results from all your hard work. Or give it a thumbs up!

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  • Before your workout:.

Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program. Cooling down and stretching is also key to reducing the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness DOMS. We are all familiar with the effects of DOMS—muscular pain, swelling and stiffness—and while there is still a debate on what the main cause of DOMS is, it is widely believed that it comes about due to connective tissue micro trauma, which occurs when muscles lengthen and stretch during exercise.

Post-WOD low-intensity exercise can enhance the clearance of enzymes responsible for muscle damage and residual fatigue, and dynamic stretching activates the muscles and increases body heat and blood flow, which helps to provide your muscles with nutrients that can reduce soreness. In one hour of exercis, the body can lose more than a quart of water, depending on exercise intensity and air temperature.

Getting enough water into our system helps to improve our recovery time, as it helps to bring the electrolyte balance in our body back to normal. As the body loses electrolytes through sweat, the imbalance can result in symptoms like muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, and mental confusion.

Water also helps prevent the breakdown of muscle proteins and increases the amount of nutrients absorbed from food. Oh, and it also plays an important role in cushioning and lubricating joints and tissues so that they remain elastic, which helps to reduce joint and muscle pain and increase your flexibility.

The 10 Worst Foods to Eat After a Workout

When you ingest whey, the amino acids from the protein will go through their metabolic functions—one of which is protein synthesis where cells generate new proteins. The faster protein can be absorbed and metabolized by the body, the more your muscles will develop as a result. Following a workout, your muscles will be aching, sore and crying out for some fast-acting protein to help feed them.

To counteract the breakdown of muscle protein that is currently underway, look to take whey protein immediately after a WOD up to 30 minutes post-WOD for full effect to maximize protein synthesis and muscular development. Eat Carbs Too! Glycogen is the chemical form of carbohydrates that is stored in the muscles.

As you train, your body utilizes glycogen as its main fuel source. Glycogen is needed in order to generate ATP—adenosine tri phosphate—which transports chemical energy and is crucial for muscle contractions. It also helps to increase muscle cell volume and muscle fiber fullness. It also helps our muscles regularly contract and relax, seeing as most of the potassium ions in the body are located in the muscle cells. If you have low levels of potassium in your blood, then you could be prone to muscle cramps and fatigue after exercise.

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Sodium, much like potassium, is an electrolyte that helps to regulate water levels in and around the cells in our bodies. We need the right amount of sodium in order to transmit nerve impulses, maintain normal blood pressure and allow our muscles to function properly. We typically lose sodium through sweat, so after a tough workout the sodium levels in our body can become depleted though it varies from person to person.


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Low sodium levels—when combined with low fluid levels—can lead to hyponatremia. The effects of this condition include nausea and vomiting, difficulty concentrating, confusion, agitation and headaches. You need a good balance of both to ensure that your body can recover well and avoid the nasty effects of hyponatremia. Thirty minutes after performing the exercise, the subjects were given one of four drinks that had varying amounts of sodium.

The researchers discovered that the amount of fluid that the men were able to retain in their bodies was directly related to the amount of sodium present in those drinks.