What To Eat After A Workout?

Consuming protein with carbohydrate can improve recovery times.

Itís time to really think about what youíre eating because your food choices can make all the difference to your performance as an athlete. Letís take a look at why some food is better for you at different times, particularly your post workout meals.

Want to maximize the benefits of your workout?

Choosing the right food to eat after working out is essential. Otherwise, much of your hard work will go to waste. Carbohydrates are the most important fuel for athletes, especially endurance athletes, and they are depleted during workouts.

We all have a ďgas tankĒ of stored carbohydrates in the form of glycogen present in our muscles and liver. After a hard workout, we need to re-fuel this tank and studies show that consuming protein with carbohydrate can improve recovery times.

Was your workout low intensity or moderate?

After a moderate workout, or a less aerobic workout where intensity is low, a mixture of carbs and, more importantly, protein is vital. The average gym goer, or even a cyclist following a less intense ride, can benefit greatly from protein after a workout, even when glycogen stores have not been depleted enough to require significant carbohydrate intake. Look for drinks with a blend of proteins along with some carbohydrates that elicit a moderate insulin response, actually increasing the muscle building benefit of a workout. Mixed-protein source drinks are becoming increasingly popular(1) Multiple protein types are metabolized at different rates, which function to supply amino acids like glutamine in various stages over several hours to rebuild muscle and help support the immune system for a more prolonged period of time particularly post workout (2), (3). Female athletes looking to lose weight and develop tone can benefit from protein consumption, which helps to maintain lean muscle mass, as long as the total caloric intake is appropriate. Herbalife Formula 1  and 3, Formula 1 Sport or Herbalife 24 Rebuild Strength

Was your workout intense?

After the most grueling workouts or races, look to consume a mixture of carbs and protein within 30 minutes of activity. For best results, get a combination of carbohydrates from glucose (usually maltodextrin or dextrose) and fructose or sucrose (which contains 50% fructose and 50% glucose) to help replenish both muscle and liver glycogen stores (4.) In studies that employ exercise regimens to fully deplete glycogen in subjects (like a marathon, long bike race, long-course triathlon etc.), researchers found about 1.2 g carbohydrate / kg of body weight to be optimal to fully replenish glycogen. This equates to about 90 g for the average male athlete (5.) Even for carb-lovers, this is a bit hard to eat in one sitting. Instead, eat fewer carbs (about 60 g), and include about 20 g of protein and BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) to help stimulate glycogen synthesis (6), (7.)See 

The combination of the 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein helps jump start the recovery process post workout (8), (9) . Protein is best utilized when paired with carbohydrates to elicit an insulin response. Consuming a mixture of fast-and-slow protein (like whey and casein) together with fast-and-slow carbohydrates is optimal to support muscle repair (10). Keep in mind, that these studies involved subjects who didnít necessarily consume sports drinks during exercise. A main purpose of sports drinks is to conserve glycogen stores. So, depending on how much of a sports drink you consume, your need for nutrients from a recovery shake may vary. See Herbalife 24 Rebuild Endurance

Since sports drinks come in a wide array of serving sizes, and are individually formulated to provide nutrition benefits for select athletes, consult a personal nutrition advisor to determine the amount that is right for you.

Want to know more about what to eat after working out?

All the facts are here:

1. Stiefel, S., Mix and Mass. Muscle and Body, 2011. March: p. 40-46.

2. Morifuji, M., et al., Post-exercise carbohydrate plus whey protein hydrolysates supplementation increases skeletal muscle glycogen level in rats. Amino Acids, 2010. 38(4): p. 1109-15.

3. Calder, P.C. and P. Yaqoob, Glutamine and the immune system. Amino Acids, 1999. 17(3): p. 227-41.

4. Ivy, J.L., Glycogen resynthesis after exercise: effect of carbohydrate intake. Int J Sports Med, 1998. 19 Suppl 2: p. S142-5.

5. Beelen, M., et al., Nutritional strategies to promote postexercise recovery. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2010. 20(6): p. 515-32.

6. Millard-Stafford, M., et al., Recovery nutrition: timing and composition after endurance exercise. Curr Sports Med Rep, 2008. 7(4): p. 193-201.

7. Armstrong, J.L., et al., Regulation of glycogen synthesis by amino acids in cultured human muscle cells. J Biol Chem, 2001. 276(2): p. 952-6.

8. Berardi, J.M., et al., Postexercise muscle glycogen recovery enhanced with a carbohydrate-protein supplement.Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2006. 38(6): p. 1106-13.

9. Howarth, K.R., et al., Coingestion of protein with carbohydrate during recovery from endurance exercise stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in humans.J Appl Physiol, 2009. 106(4): p. 1394-402.

10. Pennings, B., et al., Whey protein stimulates postprandial muscle protein accretion more effectively than do casein and casein hydrolysate inolder men. Am J Clin Nutr, 2011. 93(5): p. 997-1005.

Herbalife markets pre- workout, during workout and post workout  products, including recovery shakes.

By Dr. John Heiss

 View shopping cart what to eat after a workout Checkout

post workout shakes

Recommended Suppliers

Herbalife Products

Herbal Vitality

Members Web Site
Home Page
Video Testimonials

Order Online

Select Country
View Shopping Cart

Herbal Vitality

Copyright © 2003