Thursday, May 12, 2016

Post Workout Options and Why Nuts are an Excellent Choice

Prior to starting IIFYM, I have had a few trainers along the way, all of who would tell me the importance of certain nutrients within a time frame of finishing a workout.  However I never really believed it was a big deal.  Of course I have changed my mind on that the past several months, and have reaped the benefits of actually listening, and DOING.

Getting in protein right after working out looks to be a definite way develop an Arnold-worthy physique, but the form and variety may come down to personal preference.  I have tried several different things, and honestly I tend to always come back to REAL food as my go to!

Whole-food sources can provide all of the building blocks necessary for a full recovery, but lugging a turkey sandwich to the gym in a lunchbox fun, or even practical.  

Also, some gym-goers might find it hard to force down food after exercise. Side note:  I once saw a woman lifting (looking fit and fab by the way) eating McD's French fries WHILE working out at 24 Hour Fitness.  This was before I knew about IIFYM and thought to myself "what an idiot".  However also thinking man she's jacked, looks fab..(jealousy)

Anyway, the reason: During exercise, blood makes its way from the stomach to the working muscles, making it hard to digest whole foods right away.
Post-workout nutrition is an intriguing topic and rightfully so. The basic idea is threefold:
The body deals with nutrients differently at different times, depending on activity.
What you consume before, during, and especially after your workout is important.
By consuming particular nutrients after your workouts (aka post-workout nutrition), you improve your body composition, performance, and overall recovery.

Numerous studies have examined everything from the composition of the carbohydrate in post-workout drinks to exact amino acid combinations. Studies continue to reveal effective post-workout nutrition strategies for athletes and recreational exercisers of all types.
Generally, post-workout nutrition has three specific purposes:
    Replenish glycogen
    Decrease protein breakdown
    Increase protein synthesis
    In other words, athletes/exercisers want to replenish their energy stores, increase muscle size and/or quality, and repair any damage caused by the workout.
In doing so, they want to increase performance, improve their appearance, and enable their bodies to remain injury-free.
Proposed benefits of good post-workout nutrition include: improved recovery, less muscle soreness, improve immune function, improved bone mass and improved ability to utilize body fat.

These benefits seem to work for everyone, regardless of gender or age.
Some refer to this workout and post-workout phenomenon as “the window of opportunity”.
During this window, your muscles are primed to accept nutrients that can stimulate muscle repair, muscle growth, and muscle strength.
This window opens immediately after your workout and starts to close pretty quickly. Research suggests that while protein synthesis persists for at least 48 hours after exercise, it’s most important to get postworkout nutrition immediately, and within 2 hours afterwards.
If you feed your body properly while this window is open, you’ll get the benefits.
If you don’t provide adequate post exercise nutrition fast enough — even if you delay by only a couple of hours — you decrease muscle glycogen storage and protein synthesis.
Downing protein after a workout is often just part of the routine, and for good reason. Consuming protein has been shown to speed up recovery time and increase strength before the next gym session. The magic results from amino acids (tiny parts of proteins), which act as a building block for muscle. After pumping iron, eating (or drinking) foods high in protein supplies the body with amino acids to start repairing the damaged tissue (mainly muscles). Protein shakes offer one method of getting in some muscle-building nutrients after a workout. But are they really more effective than high-protein foods such as chicken or egg? 
After pressing, curling, sprinting, and crunching, the next logical step for many is shaking. Protein shakes, bars, and gels are marketed to be as essential as anything for an effective workout. But are these packaged and powdered foods really necessary for an effective recovery, or do the whole-food alternatives have them beat? 

Since I work out after work I typically will just have my dinner.  If for some reason I am low on my protein grams for the day and dinner isn't going to cover those, I will have an extra protein source WHILE cooking that dinner.  That is generally either nuts, egg whites or a protein shake.

I no longer run for super long distances, 10K is the most you are going to see out of my any more; but I do lift heavy several days a week, run one long run (5 miles typically) on the weekend and do HIIT as well several times a week so I workout HARD for shorter periods of time.
Pitting powder against whole food, research indicates that the supplements may have a slight advantage. The quick source of amino acids increased the fractional synthesis rate of muscle (a fancy term for rate of muscle building) more than just a regular meal. In addition to adding size, it proves to be effective at increasing workout performance. One study using whey protein found that supplementation did increase hypertrophy (read: muscle size) and strength in participants. A similar study showed that individuals chugging protein could jump higher following a training program than their shake-less counterparts.
A good sports drink has 14-15 grams of carbohydrate in 8 ounces. It should also have about 110 milligrams of sodium and 30 milligrams of potassium in the same volume.
If you're exercising to lose weight, stick to water or a "lighter" version of sports drinks with fewer carbs and calories.
Look for energy bars that have about 5 grams of protein, with some carbohydrate and very little fat.

I mention these only because I know a lot of folks swear by them.  I gave up sports drinks before, during and after my long runs during training.  Even foregoing the stuff at water stops during the longer distance races.

Water is best before and during, then get that chocolate milk in afterwards.  Along with more water of course.

Before your stomach recoils, take a look at chocolate milk's ingredient list. For a high-endurance athlete, Stager's team sees it as a catch-all workout recovery drink. Compared to plain milk, water, or most sports drinks, it has double the carbohydrate and protein content, perfect for replenishing tired muscles.

Remember that "energy" means calories, so watch out for high-calorie bars. They are helpful for athletes on the go, so if you can't eat before a long tennis match, an energy bar can help.
Choose protein powders made from whey protein or milk proteins. Use them within 30 minutes after exercising to provide needed amino acids to muscles.

After you've replenished your muscle glycogen with a 4-to-1 ratio of carbs-to-protein, aim to eat 10 to 25 grams of plant-based protein in your post-workout meal from a variety of sources to get a full spectrum of amino acids. Beans, nuts, legumes and organic soy are all options.
Nuts and dried fruit. As you work out, your body starts to deplete the levels of glucose in your blood, and must turn to glycogen – carbohydrates stored in your liver and muscle tissue – to fuel your movement. A 4-to-1 carb-to-protein snack speeds the uptake of glycogen back into your muscles and initiates muscle building. Look for foods with the majority carbohydrates and a small amount of protein. I usually grab a handful of almonds and dried fruit, like raisins, to replenish muscle glycogen immediately post-workout. I then wait at least 20 minutes before consuming my high-protein meal.
The final decision on which products you use is up to you. My purpose here was simply to describe why you might be hearing so much hype about chocolate milk. When I create nutrition plans for my clients, I will often choose to use whole foods such as chocolate milk instead of specially engineered sports products. The reason for this is two-fold:
For starters, I like to keep cost in mind because athletes tend to need more calories and more food than the standard person. More food means more money so any place you can cut costs without sacrificing nutrition is a good thing to focus on.  Again nuts are economical!
Secondly, I feel that the further away we get from “real” foods, the more complicated our diets become. I don’t like when I see diets in which the majority of calories and nutrients come from powders and pills. No powder or pill can replicate the array of vitamins, nutrients, fiber and phytochemicals we get from eating a variety of whole foods.

Simple is best and an optimal sports nutrition diet can be achieved without the use of supplements or specially engineered foods.

Nuts are easy, portable and delicious!  On a side note I am in the midst of planning a 14 day trek across New Zealand in March 2017 and you can bet I will have PLENTY of nuts (and dried fruit/mix) portioned out in snack bags to stash in my backpack!!!

However, the choice is yours. No matter what product you select just be sure that it is safe, well tolerated by your body, and is something that you enjoy.

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