Pre and intra-workout carbohydrate consumption provides many benefits, predominantly in regards to training performance. Post-workout nutrition is equally as important, and carbohydrate consumption following strenuous exercise is especially beneficial for optimal recovery.
There are several physiologic and metabolic changes that occur in the post-workout period that make nutrition during this time especially important. Some of these changes include:
- High cellular permeability
- Proficient circulation of blood and lymph fluids
- Higher carb ‘tolerance’
These changes place your body in a prime state for nutrient absorption. Thus, carbohydrates, protein and micronutrients are of utmost importance during this period. Due to the increased carb ‘tolerance’ during this time, carbohydrate consumption is especially beneficial.
Ideally, one should aim for a well-balanced, nutrient rich post-workout meal. Whole foods, starchy carbs and fast-digesting carb and protein sources are the best options following strenuous exercise. Together, these act to:
- Replenish glycogen, electrolyte and nutrient reserves depleted during exercise
- Promote efficient muscle repair and maximize hypertrophy
- Mitigate protein breakdown
- Stabilize insulin response and regulate hormones
Altogether, proper post-workout nutrition plays a key role in maximizing growth and recovery while enhancing overall performance. Being mindful of adequate carbohydrate and nutrient consumption in the hours following your training sessions will allow you to recover faster, train harder and alter your body composition to bring you one step closer to your goals.