I have been struggling with that subject for a few days now and think I have found the right answers.
- Window of opportunity: Eat as quickly as you can after your workout. Ideally 10-15 mins after, but no longer than 60 mins.
- Simple Carbs
- No fat
It doesn't seem to be very difficult, does it? The part I was struggling with were the simple carbs (sugars). In one of the earlier blogs I was preaching of the importance of complex carbs and how they are used to restore muscle glycogen and how simple carbs will not do the job. For immediate post work out nutrition that whole theory can be thrown out the window. Simple carbs are the way to go, ideally in liquid form. Liquids can be absorbed even quicker!
The reasons why simple carbs are better are twofold. They can be absorbed much quicker then starch and can therefore be transported to the muscles more quickly. In addition simple carbs will increase the low and depleted insulin levels. Insulin is the most anabolic hormone in the human body and is responsible for delivery of nutrients from the bloodstream into muscle cells. The higher insulin levels also speed up the synthesis of protein, which aids the rebuilding of muscle tissue. The amount of carbohydrates you should take in depends on your body weight and the duration of the workout. It is roughly 0.5 g carbs per pound or 1.2 g per kg. The suggested values per weight range at the figures provided seem to be the average. One site suggested to take in 1.6g/kg immediately after the workout and another drink 1 hour afterwards. .
Protein is generally 50% of the carbs and can therefore range from 0.6g/kg to 0.8g/kg. Sources for carbs can be sports drinks, juices etc or fruit; bananas work well, they contain 25-30g of sugars. As far as fat goes, immediate recovery nutrition doesn't need to contain fat and it is probably better to focus on sugars and protein and get your healthy fats as part of your regular meals.
A few examples of recovery drink of my choice are Walmart's alternative to Slim Fast or Mass XXX from GNC, which contains complex carbs and is better for secondary refueling 1-3 hours after the workout.
Alrighty off to a short run with drils and in the pool for some more drills!!!!