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Get Inspired: Post-workout nutrition

Posted on February 24 2012

We're proud of you! You've been hitting the gym, taking the dog for a run and eating right, but when you get home you are SO hungry! Post-workout nutrition is critical to maintaining your goals and making sure your hard work doesn't go to waste. The most important thing to replace during and immediately after practice or a game is WATER. To make the most of your performance and recover for your next session, you need to replace any fluid that has been lost through sweat. Waiting until the end of your workout to begin replacing your fluids can result in fatigue and your body will take longer to recover. Gradually replacing your fluids will help you avoid losing up to 2% of your body weight during your workout (no, that kind of weight loss is not a good thing!). Even when swimming laps in the pool, your body still sweats and needs to maintain hydration. Have between 16 to 24 ounces of water per pound of weight lost readily available to you during and post-workout. A 150-pound person can lose up to three pounds, or 2% of their weight during a workout, and should plan on having three bottles of water with you. After training, especially for an hour or more, your body has depleted its sugar reserve. Having a tablespoon of sugar ready for you when you arrive home isn't recommended. Experts advise those who work up a sweat to replenish their sugar with carbohydrates. The fastest way to do this is with sports drinks, especially if you haven't loaded up carbs before putting on your workout outfit. As a carbohydrate replacement, sports drinks are great during and post workout, but routine ingestion of sports drinks should be avoided or restricted as they can lead to excessive calorie consumption, increased risk of being overweight, as well as dental erosion. If you plan more than one workout in a day, the timing of your next meal is important to maximize recovery. Within the first 30 to 60 minutes after your workout you need a snack! Besides finding a few good carbohydrates, protein is also critical to repair muscle breakdown and muscle building. Between two and three hours later, it's time for a full meal. Don't ruin your good work with a well-balanced meal. The general rule is 0.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of your own body weight, as well as 10 to 20 grams of protein. Only reach for a sports bar if it's low in fat and only when crunched for time. Suggestions for post-workout snacks: Yogurt , banana, milk-separate or as a smoothie Chocolate milk with some granola Banana/Apple and peanut butter Pretzels with hummus Bowl of cereal with milk(add protein powder to milk for extra protein after a strength workout) Cottage cheese and berries Hard boiled egg with toast Suggestions for post-workout meals: Salmon with brown rice and veggies Whole grain bulgar wheat with feta cheese and edamame Whole wheat pasta, turkey meatballs, chunky marinara sauce with garden salad Barbecued pork loin, baked sweet potato(microwave), grilled zucchini Baked chicken breast, roasted brussel sprouts , butternut squash and fingerling potatoes Turkey burger on a bun, baked sweet potato fries, Asian cole slaw

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