You’ve just finished an intense training session. Do you know what—and when—you need to eat in order to maximize your results? Than focus, learn and listen!
Yes, things have changed a bit over the past decade. As the population grows fatter, more research has shown that eating as soon as possible pays off HUGE dividends. (I know you NJ people know about dividends).
First, a quick run-down of the science behind eating for recovery, then a word about fluids, and finally, we get into the timing of your post workout eating, the types of foods that work the best, and some of the guiding principles to keep in mind. Let’s go!
WHAT’S THE POINT OF EATING AFTER EXERCISE?
It’s all about two things: recovery and storage. You need to recover the losses you undertook during the exercise, and your body is simply better at storing that recovery fuel right after your workout. Sure, you can eat later—but the benefits won’t be as good.
Your muscles need carbohydrate and fluid to replace glycogen and water losses during the exercise. The muscles store more glycogen immediately after exercise than they do later.” The quicker your muscles recover, the sooner they will be ready to “perform’ for your again.
You want to stick to carbs and protein. Why, exactly? Becuase protein provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue that is damaged during intense, prolonged exercise. It can also increase the absorption of water from the intestines and improve muscle hydration. The amino acids in protein can also stimulate the immune system, making you more resistant to colds and other infections.
While you might find some advice that suggests carbs will serve you fine on their own, most studies find that athletes who refueled with carbohydrate and protein had 100 percent greater muscle glycogen stores than those who only ate carbohydrate. Insulin was also highest in those who consumed a carbohydrate and protein drink.” The magic ratio seems to be 4:1—for every four grams of carbs, you should have one gram of protein.
IMPORTANT POINT. Eating post-workout is most important for those who workout nearly every day—and hopefully that’s you. To make gains, whether it be strength, lean muscle, speed, flexibility, etc, you need your muscle to recover ASAP.
But if you only exercise 2 -3 times per week, you don’t need to worry as much about post-exercise foods because your body will have enough time between workouts to recover. You should probably focus on healthier proteins and veggies, so you don’t put on extra fat.
THE RE-HYDRATION ESSENTIALS.
Let’s keep it simple. Re-Hydration is always your #1 priority, especially if you’ve gone for a run and haven’t had access to any water during it.
For you OCD-ers, Science says weigh yourself pre- and post-workout, and use the difference to replace fluid losses. For example, drink 16 fl oz of water for every 1 lb lost. .
WHEN TO EAT.
Do we need to eat right away? You might say no, not exactly—you probably want to get some fluids into you, towel off, get changed, take a quick shower—whatever your normal post-workout routine is.
However, those first 15 minutes are crucial! The enzymes that help the body resynthesize muscle glycogen are really most active in that first 15 minutes. The longer we wait to eat something, the longer it takes to recover.
If you can’t get to some proper food within those first 15 minutes, make sure you get something in your stomach within an hour, maximum, post-workout. You won’t get much increased storage at all if you wait longer than that.
WHAT TO EAT—WITH REAL SUGGESTIONS.
Ah, and now the crucial question, where we move away from talk of abstract carbohydrates and protein, and into actual suggestions for the kind of things you should scarf down post-workout.
The simple solution may be a post workout drink. 3:1 combo of carbohydrate and protein is perfect and shakes are easier to digest than real foods and make it easier to get the right ratio. If you can’t make one at home, most of the 24 hour convenience stores carry them.
Columbia University comes at us with some real food suggestions: “eat a few slices of turkey on a wheat bagel, or have a large glass of protein fortified milk. The most important nutritional strategy post workout, though, is fluid replacement. Drink water, juice, or carbohydrate rich sports drinks to replace what you sweat out.” All good advice, although be careful of sports drinks that function more as sugar-delivery systems than workout tools.
Make sure you don’t use your post-workout eating as a chance to load up on too much sugar, or things you might not eat if you hadn’t worked out. And avoid fats for the same reason you avoided them before you exercised: they’re too hard for your stomach to digest after all that work.
Also, avoid falling into the trap of becoming reliant on sports food supplements, believing this to be the only and/or best way to meet your recovery goals. This often results in our athletes “doubling up” with their recovery, consuming a sports food supplement that meets certain recovery goals, e.g. liquid meal supplement, then following this up soon afterwards with a meal that would help them meet the same recovery goal, e.g. bowl of cereal with fresh fruit.
Unless constrained by poor availability or lack of time, we are best advised to favor real food/fluid options that allow ussto meet recovery and other dietary goals simultaneously. This is especially important for athletes on a low energy budget. Top advice.
THE FINAL BITS OF ADVICE.
Eating after exercise takes some time to get used to. Remember that if you’re working out just 2-3 times a week, it’s not as critically important to concentrate on your post-workout recovery. But if you’re working out nearly every day—it’s essential. If you are trying to gain muscle-it’s more than essential.
And don’t think of your post-workout food as a proper meal: the portion sizes should never get that big. Keep it small -a fist-sized quantity. Low-fat chocolate milk works very well. The goal is not a post-exercise meal. It’s really a post-exercise appetizer to help the body recover as quickly as it can.” That’s a strange-but-perfect way to think about it: a post-exercise appetizer.
Keep these general principles in mind, eat clean and healthy above all, and you’ll be recovering from K2’s workouts in no time. Well, maybe not in no time…
Take Charge of Your Metabolism
“Love the one your with” That would be you! You have to live with yourself 24/7/365. Wouldn’t it be nice if you loved everything about yourself?
If you are reading this, you have the ability to control almost everything about your life. What you spend your days doing, who you hang out with, what you eat, what you do for activities. The greatest thing about being you is you hold the key to happiness! So if you complain once today, then you need to take a long look in the mirror.
Ok…Let me focus on 1 thing we all have control over – Our metabolism.
Do you ever wonder how your friend can eat whatever he/she wants and not gain a pound, while you seem to gain weight by simply looking at food? The answer is in your metabolism—the way your body burns up all the calories from food.
Some people have a fast metabolism which helps keep weight off, and others have a slow metabolism, putting on weight very quickly. The good news is metabolic rate can be altered, and even sped up.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is the rate at which your body’s internal engine operates as it performs its bodily functions. The largest component of your metabolism, approximately 70%, is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is how many calories you burn just sitting around. In other words, it is the energy used by your body to perform basic functions, such as breathing, keeping the heart beating and maintaining body temperature. As you age, your BMR decreases. Basal metabolic rates differ from person to person due to:
Genetics: A slow metabolism (you burn calories more slowly) or fast metabolism (you burn calories faster) can be inherited.
Amount of lean muscle: Muscle burns calories faster than fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest.
Sex differences: Males generally have a 10 to 15% faster BMR than females because the male body has a larger percentage of lean muscle tissue.
Age: Younger people have faster metabolisms due to increased activity of cells.
Other components of your metabolism include physical activity, which accounts for about 20% of calories burned, and dietary thermogenesis, which is the number of calories required for digesting and processing the food you eat. This accounts for the remaining 10% of energy needs.
How Does This Affect My Weight?
Simply put, your metabolism affects weight management because it determines how many calories you need per day. If you have a high BMR (fast metabolism) it takes a lot of calories for your body to function; eating calorie-laden foods may not pack on the pounds for you. On the other hand, if you have a low BMR (slow metabolism), your body needs fewer calories to function. Unfortunately, for your sluggish metabolism, eating calorie-laden foods will result in weight gain.
How Can I Jump-Start my Body’s Metabolic Engine?
Follow these tips to naturally boost your metabolism:
Eat Breakfast. Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day, especially for you weight loss seekers. Research shows that those who eat breakfast lose more weight than those who skip breakfast. Your metabolism slows down while you sleep and it doesn’t speed back up until you eat again. If you don’t eat until lunchtime, your body won’t burn as many calories as it could during the morning period. Kick start your day with a balanced breakfast such as omega-3 eggs and toast or a protein shake.
Eat smaller meals throughout the day. Eating five or six smaller meals rather than three large meals helps to keep your metabolism revved up! It also helps to fill you up over the course of the day, making a binge session less likely.
Don’t starve yourself. Fasting, cutting calories and skipping meals will all help put weight ON not OFF. Your body needs a certain number of calories to function. If you don’t meet this need, your body will switch into survival mode, slow down the metabolism and promote the storage of energy (calories) in the form of fat to protect itself from starvation. Be sure get the proper number of calories for an optimal metabolism.
Exercise. Both cardiovascular exercise and weight training help to improve metabolic rate and keep weight off. Cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, running, biking, swimming and aerobics, allows your body to burn a lot of calories at one time. Weight training will increase muscle mass, which burns more calories than body fat. Weight training also puts the metabolism into overdrive, so your burn calories for up to two hours after the workout.
Drink Green Tea. Research shows that green tea appears to increase metabolic rate and speed up fat oxidation. Compounds in green tea, catechin polyphenols, appear to speed up the rate at which calories are burned and therefore increase overall energy expenditure leading to weight loss!
Drink water. Not drinking enough water can slow down your metabolism. Be sure to drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day. Add a lemon slice to water for a tangy, fresh taste.
Take Supplements. If you use make-up to look better, supplements can probably do a lot more for your appearance. Even ugly pants look better on a nice pair of legs. The Supplement market is 50 Billion because they do work! Visit www.khaag.getprograde.com
Eat hormonally balanced meals. Eating in hormonal balance includes:
- Energy-dense carbohydrates, such as whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits that contain fiber to help regulate your metabolism by having less impact on insulin levels.
- High quality protein, such as fish, poultry, lean meats, soy, tofu and lowfat dairy products to help build metabolism-boosting muscle mass.
- Essential fats for good health such as olive oil, avocado and nuts.
Ask for Help.
You can contact me, Kevin Haag, with any questions you have. I spend my days researching and practicing this stuff, so I can bombard you with enough emails to make you not want to eat.
Goal Setting and Planning Worksheet
“First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.” Aristotle
What are you trying to accomplish? More importantly why? These 3 questions will help you define your goal. Take your time and be honest with yourself. Your goal needs to be clearly defined and meaningful in order for you to reach it.
STEP 1 – SETTING A GOAL
Question 1: What is your Goal? What do you want to achieve? (Be specific as possible)
How do you quantify it?
What is your timeframe?
How do you know when you reached your goal?
Question 2: Why do you want to achieve the goal?
What will it do for you?
Why did you decide to do this now?
What is your Motivation(s)? Below are 3 types of motivation.
1: Obligation based – I really should. This type of motivation doesn’t last long
2: Desire based – I want to do this. Much more powerful
3: Enjoyment based – I love doing this. Part of the process
What if you don’t reach your goal?
Questions 3: What is the price? Are you willing to pay the price? Is it worth it to you?
What will you need to sacrifice? What are you willing to cut back on?
What behaviors are you willing to change?
Behavioral Change 1:
Behavioral Change 2:
If anything, what do you see a preventing you from attaining your goals? What made you fail in the past?
Will you journal things? If you don’t write things down, you have nothing to look back and evaluate things.
What keeps you motivated to continue working toward your goals? Why?
What is going to motivate you when you get discouraged?
STEP 2 – MAKING THE PLAN
“Failure to plan is planning to fail”
The following plan and process must be something you are going to enjoy
Where are you now – Measure progress
Measure you body, weight yourself, take photos and set aside clothes you want to fit into. They help you see who you really are.
Nutrition Plan: Make sure you follow nutrition plan
You MUST know what you are going to eat the following day before you go to bed at night. This may sound odd, but this simple habit will make an enormous effect on how you eat. Pick a RITUAL to prepare your meals!
Option 1 – Sunday Ritual, You dedicate Sunday to getting ready for the rest of the week. Cook and pack
Option 2 – Daily Ritual. You get everything ready as soon as you wake up. You cook and pack meals and snacks every morning.
Option 3 – Bi-Weekly Ritual. Take a couple hours on Sunday and a couple hours on Wednesday to prepare meals for a few days
Be realistic. Make an enjoyable plan. Make sure you pick and exercise program you can do, you will enjoy,
Barriers to success:
What time of day is most convenient for you? _____________
What time of day are you most likely to continue to exercise? _____________
What are your work obligations? What are your family obligations?
How many days? ______ How long each day? _______
Execution Strategy: Start and follow Plan.
Get yourself into some of routine. The first hour of each day will set you up for success.
8 am _________________________
12 pm _________________________
How do you feel? Why
Are you getting enough sleep?
How are you reacting to your diet? How do you feel?
How closely are you following plan?
Do we need to count calories? Can you manipulate calories?
Can you do more exercise?
Prevent Over-training Young Athletes
In far too many situations throughout North America, strength coaches and personal trainers make common errors in their programming for young athletes, many of which can lead to overtraining syndromes –
Critical Analysis of Biomotor Ability
In working with young athletes, there is very little reason to ever ‘test’ their ability at certain lifts or speed variances. Your programming guidelines must be based around teaching proper execution of technique in your young athletes from a lift and movement economy standpoint. Having said that, having 3, 5 or 8 RM values on any particular exercise should be deemed a distant secondary consideration to teaching the proper values of form and function.
By using a ‘Teaching Model’ of exercise development rather than a ‘Training Model’ you are taking the pressure off of kids to reach for biomotor improvements at the expense of developing sound technique.
Changing Exercises to Often
Although when training adult clientele, there are neural advantages to altering your exercise selection often, with young athletes the reality is that the initial stages of training should comprise little more than dedicated time to teach and become proficient in the basics of lift and movement economy.
Far too often, trainers work to make young athlete routines challenging and neurally stimulating by incorporating complex programming and exercise selection into the mix early in the athletes’ training life. Resist the urge to make a neurological impact and instead, focus your efforts on developing sound competency in just a few basic lifts – the foundation you build during this time is paramount to eventually increasing both the volume and intricacy of your programming.
Consider the Athlete’s Entire Life
When creating a training program for a young athlete, you must take into consideration their entire life – that is, don’t just make training sessions hard for the sake of making them hard. You do a disservice to the athlete and your business by following this practice.
For instance, if the young athlete is in-season for a particular sport, there practice and game schedule must be considered into the reality of your overall programming. Soccer practices, for instance four days per week coupled with one to two games per week, will leave any young athlete bordering on the verge of overtraining syndrome as it is. Your job during times like this is to augment them with restorative training that does not serve to push them lower beneath what would be considered normal and healthy biological levels.
Additionally, you must work to understand your young athletes’ eating and sleeping habits as well. Inappropriate nutrition and poor sleeping patterns (which many teenagers face today) are precursors to overtraining syndrome in that they are two of the more important restorative elements trainees can use to combat such concerns.
As a professional trainer working with young athletes, you are responsible and must assume accountability for their overall health and wellbeing. When training young athletes and in an effort to ensure quality, efficacy-based training practices, resist the temptation to do the ‘norm’ by making exercise sessions hard and physically challenging. Instead, follow the three key points above to ensure optimal training conditions and guard against the very real concerns of overtraining.
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