Friday, August 1, 2014

Post Exercise Fuel

Ever feel sluggish or sore after exercise? Your body is letting you know that you need to replenish key nutrients that were burned while exercising. Here are some nutrition tips for eating after exercise that will help you and your performance.

 Goals of Nutrition After Exercise
  1. Restore your body's fluid and electrolytes that were lost while sweating.  Tip:Gatorade is a great drink to restore electrolytes (these are needed to help balance your PH levels), carbohydrates, and blood sugar levels.
  2. Restore muscle fuel (carbohydrates) used during exercise.  Carbohydrates are essential when working out because carbohydrates are the body's main fuel source for energy. Your muscles rely on glycogen (stored carbohydrates) to function so it is important after exercise to replace lost carbs.  
  3. Restore protein losses during exercise to help repair damaged muscle tissue and promote new tissue growth.  Be sure to replenish your body by adding in protein-rich foods like milk or peanut butter. 
  4. Include a snack or a meal within 15 to 60 minutes after exercise to optimize recovery.  

Post Exercise Food and Fluid

One thing to remember is that everybody has a different taste and preference for post exercise food and fluid. If you feel like you don’t have an appetite following a training session, consider liquid replenishment.  Smoothies are a great way to replenish lost nutrients, try adding frozen fruit and yogurt.

Snack Options
·         Sport drink and a sports bar
Tip: This will help replenish electrolytes, carbohydrates, and proteins.
·         Graham crackers with 1 tbs. of peanut butter, combined with low-fat chocolate milk and a banana.
Tip: This snack is protein rich and would be perfect after an intense work out.
·         Yogurt and berry smoothie 

Meal Options
 ·         Whole wheat pita sandwich with turkey and veggies, a handful of pretzels , 8 oz glass of low-fat milk.
·         Combine rice and beans, cheese, salsa, and avocado with whole grain tortilla chips or whole wheat tortilla.
·         Stir fry with lean steak, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, and brown rice. 

Tip: Try out options way before competitions so the days leading up to the big event you can feel your best by supplying your body with the right nutrients after exercising. 

Look for more to come in the weeks to follow from our healthcare experts at Saint Vincent!

Leslie Lawton, RD, CSSD, LDN, CDE
Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
Saint Vincent Hospita