What you eat after a work out is very important. Your body burns up its reserves and needs fuel from good sources of protein and carbohydrates. This FAQ will help you understand some good habits for eating around workout time.
Question: I don’t like to eat before working out, but if I don’t I get light-headed during my workout.
Complaint: I don’t like to eat before my morning run, or right before a long bike ride, but then I gas out halfway through.
Expert Discussion: “You need some type of energy replacement when exercising,” says Eric Sternlicht, PhD, exercise physiologist and president of Simply Fit Inc. in Orange, California. “Since it’s not recommended that you eat [a full meal] two or three hours before you work out, the best thing to do is eat something while you exercise. If you eat beforehand, your insulin levels will go up,” explains Sternlicht. “When you start exercising, your insulin will drop precipitously, and you’ll rely too much on muscle glycogen. Once you deplete your muscle glycogen, you’ll lose a lot of power.”
Solution: Choose small, easily digested foods that are dense, like sports drinks, bars, or bananas. Eat a small amount before your workout, and then continue to sip or munch small bits during your workout while you’re on your break.
Question: How can I improve my recovery after a hard cardio session?
Expert Discussion: After a tough workout, when you eat is as important as what you eat. “There is a window of opportunity one or two hours after exercise,” says Sternlicht. “If you eat during this period, you’ll achieve faster muscle-glycogen resynthesis, which will aid recovery. If you don’t eat, your subsequent workouts will suffer.” Some studies suggest that combining protein and carbs in post-training meals increase glycogen replenishment. Eating every two hours for six hours after intense exercise seems to be the most effective recovery method. “The best ratio of nutrients for recovery is 60 percent carbohydrates and 40 percent protein,” adds Sternlicht.
Question: What do I do if I cramp during my workout?
Expert Discussion: Cramping is usually caused by a mineral imbalance. “The most important thing you can do to prevent muscle cramps is get more potassium in your diet,” says Timothy Moore, PhD, an exercise physiologist who trains endurance athletes. “Eating more bananas – and fruits and vegetables in general – is the best way of controlling the problem,” says Moore. “Sports drinks can help you replenish what you sweat out, but people get cramps most likely because they have a potassium deficiency, not because sweating has depleted their electrolytes.”
Solution: Eat bananas!
Question: What can I do about my muscles being constantly sore from Tone & Burn Days.
Expert Discussion: Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is part of weight-training, but if you experience excessive or consistent pain after every workout, you need to shake things up. “In dealing with DOMS, balanced nutrition is very important,” says Sternlicht. “You need to get adequate protein to repair the damage that’s been caused to your muscles.” A study conducted at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University showed that people in strength-training programs – especially beginners – have an increased need for dietary protein. “Some nutrients you can get through your diet, such as ginger and turmeric, help prevent DOMS by benefiting your connective tissue,” says Sternlicht. “Unlike NSAIDs [nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin], they don’t depress collagen synthesis, which helps repair connective tissue.”
Solution: Eat chicken and use ginger and turmeric for herbs.
Question: How do I improve my focus in order to get through a MAX10 workout?
Experts Discussion: Cut back on starchy carbs like pasta and white rice. Remember to eat small amounts of protein six times a day. Females typically will need 15 grams per meal and males around 25. Protein contains the amino acid tyrosine, which boosts levels of dopamine and norepinephrine (cousins of adrenaline). It also blocks the absorption of carbohydrate-induced tryptophan, which can make you feel tired. “If you find yourself mentally lagging, try some tuna, cottage cheese or chicken an hour before to harness mental ability,” says Judith Wurtman, PhD, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Solution: Eat protein at regular intervals!!!
Question: How do I get to sleep after exercising in the evening?
Expert discussion: Warm milk has tryptophan and will help shut you down. Make sure you cool your body down, as elevated temperatures can keep you awake as well. Stay away from coffee in the afternoons, and don’t drink alcohol in the evening either.
Solution: Drink some warm milk or relaxing tea like chamomile, valerian root, or kava kava.