Blissful Belle

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Burn, Belle, Burn: Guide To Post-Workout Refueling


You finished an intense interval session on the treadmill followed by a killer dumbbell circuit. You just burned a lot of calories; which is the most important part of your sweat sesh, right?

Actually, wrong. The most important part of your workout routine is what happens after you leave the gym. After your workout, you have a very small window of opportunity to refuel properly so your body can recover efficiently. The initial 30 minutes post-workout is the ideal time frame to get your body the nutrients it needs.

When you have a hard workout, you’re basically breaking down muscle fibers. These fibers need to build back up and repair themselves. When that happens, they are rebuilt to be even stronger. In order to rebuild they need to be fed the proper nutrients. One of the key ingredients to help muscles recover is glucose.

According to the article Power Hour in the September issue of SHAPE magazine, after an aerobic workout, your body is primed to absorb glucose from food and store it as fuel.

During these 30 minutes, your body is working overtime. Your metabolism is revved up and ready to go, and studies have shown that there is something called the “exercise after-burn.” The exercise after-burn refers to the post-workout caloric expenditure.

After a 45-minute intense workout, people can burn another possible 15 percent of the calories they burned during their time at the gym. So, say you burned 300 calories during your exercise session. In the next few hours, your body will burn 45 more calories and you don’t have to do anything! If you workout regularly, the post-exercise calorie expenditure will add up.

You have to feed your body what it needs to maximize your ability to burn more calories and repair your body in the best possible way. The best food to consume after a hard workout is something that has a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. So what does that translate to? Try some of these yummy snacks to eat post-gym session:

  • A whole wheat bagel or an apple with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • A Chobani Greek yogurt with ¼ cup granola
  • 2 rice cakes and 2 tablespoons of hummus
  • 1-2 hardboiled eggs and whole wheat toast
  • Low-fat chocolate milk and a banana
  • Fruit and yogurt smoothie

It’s still extremely important to refuel. The  good news is that there are still options for  those of you who don’t have a stomach of  steel (and no, I’m not talking about a six       pack!) These options are a little easier to digest:

  • Gatorade G3 recovery drink
  • Muscle Milk light, or similar protein shake
  • A bar such as Luna, Clif, or Lara bar

Preparation is key to the success of your post-fuel efforts.. Before you head to the gym, toss a bar, shake, or banana in your bag so you can chow down in the car on your ride home or to work. In an hour or so, sit down and have a real meal, mixed with protein, complex carbs and a little bit of healthy fat.

This will help get your body to its optimum ability to repair itself. If you really take the time to do this correctly, muscle soreness you may feel after a workout can be significantly decreased, resulting in a leaner, healthier and happier you!

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2 comments on “Burn, Belle, Burn: Guide To Post-Workout Refueling

  1. Pingback: Simple information about eating for recovery | Healthy Gal

  2. Jerry Corey
    November 15, 2011

    Hi this Jerry and wanted to just say this article is actually great. In my quest to loose belly fat I searched for tons of inforamation to help me, this is one gold nugget that will help.

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