Post-workout Window of Opportunity
Hi friends :) It's been a little while, hope all has been good in your world. We're finally getting some nice summer weather around here. (Who says living in CA is always golden? Not if you're in the east bay...) We just had a lovely 3 day weekend. And tomatoes, which were our food of the week last week, are freakin' amazing right now. I'd have to say, it's pretty good over in my world :) It's the little things to be grateful for.
So I recently had a request for a blog post. It is my very first request and I feel honored for that. Again, it's the little things...thanks Tone´ :)
A couple of weeks ago during the stretching segment of my Monkey Ninja Bootcamp the topic of post-workout protein shakes came up. My students often see me downing a protein shake right after our class is done and there are a few other students who are also capitalizing on this window of opportunity. The question at large here is why are we doing this?
Intense exercise is a physiological stress on the body, depleting the muscle's fuel resources and causing micro-tears in the muscles. What's the common sense thing to do when the tank is empty and damage has been done? Exactly. Refuel and repair. Without taking the correct measures to repair and refuel your body, you are negating many of the positive effects of exercise. So if you're putting in all that effort to get a kick-ass workout you need to learn the correct way to repair and refuel....there is a short window of opportunity for optimal post-workout nutrition.
No more than an hour after your workout is finished, and preferably within 30 minutes, you should be consuming your post-workout meal. But what should it consist of? Well, that answer is simple: carbs and protein. The website www.livestrong.com has an article titled "How Do Protein & Carbohydrates Replenish Your Body After a Workout?" which breaks down what happens during exercise and why you need to refuel with carbs and proteins.
During exercise, your body relies on stores of glucose inside your muscles and blood. The muscular contractions of exercise elicit an increased uptake of glucose from the blood, making it necessary for you to replenish blood glucose after exercise. An adaptation to regular exercise is the increased storage of glucose inside your muscles as glycogen. After exercise, an enzyme known as glycogen synthase is elevated. Glycogen synthase stimulates your body to remove glucose from the blood and replenish and increase muscle glycogen stores for your next bout of exercise.
Part of adapting to exercise involves breaking down muscle tissue for it to build itself back up and adapt to the stimulus of physical activity. Protein taken in after exercise assists with this process. Your body uses the amino acids inside protein to rebuild and replenish muscle tissue that was damaged during exercise.
A combination of carbohydrates and protein is optimal for workout recovery. Consuming both nutrients allows your body to replenish and rebuild energy stores and muscle tissue. It also reduces the levels of cortisol in your blood, a hormone that reduces muscle growth. Carbohydrates and proteins should be consumed within 10 to 30 minutes after your workout. For carbs, you should consume 0.7 to 1.0 g of carbs per kilogram of your body weight. For proteins, take in 1.6 to 1.8 g per kilogram of your body weight.
--taken from www.livestrong.com, article title "How Do Protein & Carbohydrates Replenish Your Body After a Workout?", written by Laura Niedziocha.
So now onto the next questions and answers....why protein shakes and why only carbs and protein? The simple answer is this: you want your post-workout meal to be very easily digestible. Liquids are quicker to digest and fats slow down digestion. Therefore a protein shake that combines protein powder with carbs is the ideal post-workout meal.
It is said that the most easily digestible protein powder is whey protein. Personally, I try to keep my protein shakes dairy free, so I roll with Sun Warrior Raw Whole Grain Sprouted Vegan Protein. Check their website out at www.sunwarrior.com. The nutrition stats are pretty amazing and their product is super clean--"it is naturally rich in vitamins and minerals, contains large amounts of antioxidants tocopherols and tocotrienols, and contains other essential nutrients such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous, iron and potassium. Sun Warrior protein is created through a process of combining the sprouted endosperm and the bran from raw sprouted whole grain brown rice. This unique process creates the first complete hypoallergenic protein which is made up of all 9 essential amino acids and other non-essential amino acids in a perfectly balanced amino acid profile."
--taken from www.sunwarrior.com
Now for the fun part--what to add to your protein shake. My favorite concoction is organic unsweetened vanilla-flavored almond milk, organic banana, Sun Warrior Protein Powder, chia seeds and cinnamon. A good mix of carbs and proteins with very little fat. And so yummy! I'm a huge fan of the Magic Bullet, a single-serving size food processor and blender, makes it so easy to make my protein shake in the morning and clean up is so simple.
So, that was a long blog post, whew! Please share your favorite protein powder and protein shake recipes! And of course, let me know if you have any questions.
Yours in Health,
Kristin, The Fuse Fitness