What you consume before, during, and especially after your workout is important. The body deals with nutrients differently at different times, depending on activity. By consuming particular nutrients after your workouts (aka post-workout nutrition), you improve your body composition, performance, and overall recovery. Post-workout nutrition has three specific purposes:
- Replenish glycogen
- Decrease protein breakdown
- Increase protein synthesis
Benefits of post-workout and nutrition include:
- Improved recovery
- Less muscle aches and pains
- Increased ability to build muscle
- Improved immune function
- Improved bone mass
- Improved ability to utilize body fat.
Post-workout nutrition requires two things:
- Protein to aid in protein synthesis
- Carbohydrates to help replace muscle glycogen (and to enhance the role of insulin in transporting nutrients into cells)
You could certainly eat a whole food meal that meets these requirements after exercise.
However, whole food meals aren’t always practical.
- Some people aren’t hungry immediately after exercise.
- Whole food digests slowly, and we want nutrients to be available quickly.
- A whole food meal that requires refrigeration might be less practical.
On the other hand, consuming a liquid form of nutrition that contains rapidly digesting carbohydrates (e.g., maltodextrin, dextrose, glucose, etc) and proteins (e.g., protein hydrolysates or isolates:
- might accelerate recovery by utilizing insulin for nutrient transport into cells;
- can result in rapid digestion and absorption; and
- is often better tolerated during and after workouts.