One of the most important meals of the day is your post workout meal. Breakfast, of course, is the other and the second most commonly skipped meal by busy moms.
The post-workout meal is the secret weapon to fat loss that many women simply just skip and it can make or break your fat loss progress. It’s that important!
Women tend to skip this meal because they:
1. Don’t have time (or think they don’t)
2. Don’t think it’s really necessary
3. Have old school thinking – “Eat Less, Weigh Less”
Listen, you want to lose fat, not just lose weight and you want to have plenty of energy for your next workout so you can push hard, lift heavy and boost your metabolism hours after your workout without losing muscle. This means you must incorporate a post-workout meal.
If you don’t eat the proper recovery meal the average gym-goer will risk:
1. Muscle soreness and fatigue
2. Poor performance
Ideally, this meal will be within 30-60 minutes after your workout. The reason for this is that there is a window of opportunity for your muscles to absorb nutrients! After the window closes (even two hours later!), your body is unable to shuttle the optimal nutrients for recovery and repair into your muscle cells.
What does your post-workout meal consist of?
Studies have proven that this combination of food, in liquid form, absorbs quickly and enables your body to recover so you can work harder at your next workout and boost your metabolism even further.
Your post-workout meal should be in a 2:1 ratio of carbs:protein.You can figure out the calories you need by first figuring out your lean body mass ( get it tested). You need about .75 grams of protein per pound of lean tissue per day. Divide that number by 4 meals and that will give you a rough estimate of the amount of protein you need in the post-workout meal. For example, a 120 pound female boot camper at 23% body fat has about 92.4 pounds of lean tissue. 92.4 pounds X .75 grams = 69.3 grams of protein per day. 69.3/4 meals per day (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner) = 17 grams of protein per meal. Following the 2:1 ratio of carbs:protein she will need about 34 grams of carbohydrates. In each gram of protein and carbohydrate there are 4 calories each. This example would come to about 204 calories for the post-workout meal.
The Easy Way: An average woman needs about 200-300 calories post workout at a 2:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio (the carbs can be up to 4 times the amount, but you have to watch those calories or they won’t get used as muscle glycogen, but rather stored as fat and then you’re right back to where you started!)
According to John Berardi, Ph.D.,the optimal carbohydrates to consume are glucose and glucose polymers, like maltodextrin and dextrose and the protein best suited is whey (hydrolysates and isolates). It should also contain Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA). Berardi confesses that supplementation may be the best post-workout meal option, as whole foods take longer to digest. He also says this meal should be FAT FREE for the same reason.
If you’d like to read more on this topic, here are some articles from my partners at Prograde Nutrition http://personalbest.getprograde.com/Recovery-Research.html and http://personalbest.getprograde.com/what-to-never-eat-after-you-workout.html
You can even get a free sample of their Workout drink
Other options include egg white protein powder mixed with fruit. Vegan sources of protein (usually pea, rice, hemp seed) powder also mixed with fruit like raspberries or blueberries.
“Now” brand egg whites have only egg whites and no other listed ingredients. You can buy this product on-line and is another option for a dairy free meal.
**I’m sure you know by now that I’m not a fan of dairy products. I don’t think dairy is necessary for a healthy diet (or provides us the best source of calcium) and many people are sensitive or intolerant to it and don’t realize it. I provide the above reference because many people still DO consume it, want it and if you are going to consume it, get a good, quality, pharmaceutical grade product. I like the taste of Prograde protein and workout drinks, too.