After Workout Nutrition for a Women’s Fitness Diet

The foods we choose to refuel our body with post-exercise are vital to meeting our body’s needs. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion surrounding women’s fitness diet plans, leaving most of us unsure of what to eat and not eat after a workout.

The important thing to remember is that nutrition needs clear, factual information, common sense, and diligence if you want to make your overall health better. If the other meals of the day are not executed properly, you won’t achieve your workout goals.

What Happens When We Workout

Let’s make some sense of this confusing topic by discussing why we workout. For me, (and I think I speak on behalf of MOST of the population), there are 3 main reasons to exercise:

1. Improve health

2. Improve body composition

3. Improve performance

If you want your fitness diet to contain the right nutrients your body needs after a workout, we need to focus on what our body experiences during exercise. During an intense workout, we break down muscle tissue, essentially damaging the tissues. This sounds bad, but this process is what actually makes us leaner, fitter, stronger and more muscular.

Essentially, a women’s fitness diet needs to do 3 things:

1. Replenish glycogen

2. Stop protein breakdown

3. Promote protein synthesis

Muscle building occurs when our body reaches a positive protein balance during recovery by consuming the right type of nutrients after exercise triggers protein synthesis. Our body also depletes its carbohydrate levels during exercise, which need to be refilled. This means our body NEEDS protein and carbohydrates post-workout.

During and after exercise, our blood circulates more rapidly, especially through the muscles being trained. If we strategically put the nutrients it needs into our bloodstream at the right times, our bodies will be able to recover and replenish more efficiently.

After Workout Nutrition For A Women’s Fitness Diet

This brings us to the “window” of opportunity, which occurs immediately after a workout. During this timeframe, our muscles are primed to accept the nutrients that can stimulate muscle repair and growth.

While protein synthesis lasts for up to 4 hours, our body will receive the most benefits from nutrients consumed within two hours of exercising. Wait too long to refuel your body, however, and you’ll experience a decrease in glycogen storage and protein synthesis.

So What Should I Eat?

Let’s recall what it is that we are trying to achieve with post-workout nutrition:

1. Replenish glycogen

2. Stop protein breakdown

3. Promote protein synthesis

This tells us we need carbohydrates to replenish our energy levels, and protein to prevent further breakdown and promote rebuilding.

Because our window is small, we need to consume quick digesting carbohydrates and quick digesting protein post-workout. Sources such as isolates, dextrose, or a recovery drink are best.

Whole foods digest slowly, which is why most fitness enthusiasts choose liquid post-workout over whole foods. If you do choose whole foods, opt for ones that are quick to absorb like fish and white rice. Just make sure to take advantage of the two-hour “window”.

Post-Workout Protein Shakes and Protein Types

Post-workout shakes are not NEEDED, but they’ll help with recovery and muscle building. Protein powder is convenient and cost-effective option. It’s great for before and after your workouts, and also as a meal replacement. Because proteins have different uses, however, you’ll need to select different types of protein supplementation for each one.

Soy protein comes directly from the only plant-based food to contain a complete protein: soybeans. However, it does have more fat and takes longer to absorb. On the bright side, it’s excellent for supplying your muscles with a steady supply of protein throughout the day. It also contains isoflavones, which promote health cholesterol levels.

Hemp protein is derived from hemp seeds. It contains approximately 50% less protein than whey, but it does contain omega-3 fatty acids to boost heart health. This type of protein powder is best used for morning drinks and between meal snacks, rather than for post workout recovery. It’s also a suitable alternative for those sensitive or intolerant to milk products.

Whey protein, from cow’s milk, is a by-product left over when making cheese. It’s 31% more effective at building muscle than soy, and is considerably more effective at stimulating protein synthesis compared to other proteins, but you need to be careful when buying.

Lower quality whey powder has high fat and dietary cholesterol levels. It’s also the fastest-absorbing protein powder types, making it the best of the three for recovery, growth, and maintenance after workouts.

Post-Workout Nutrition For A Women s Fitness Diet — Whey Protein

If you’ve looked around, you’ll have noticed three types of whey protein supplements:

Whey Protein Isolate — With almost no carbs, lactose, or fat content, this is the highest quality powder available. In fact, 90% or more of its weight will be protein. It is also the most efficient of the proteins — 30-60% more efficient than concentrate.

Whey Protein Concentrate — The cheapest whey supplement, concentrate is high in fat and lactose. It has the highest biological value, and is about 75% protein by weight.

Whey Protein Blends — A mixture of concentrate and isolate, this provides you with a lower fat and lactose content, while still being affordable. Blends also have a great amino acid profile.

If you’re looking for a post-workout protein shake, choose whey isolate for its protein synthesis (building) effect. It may be more expensive, but it rapidly releases amino acids into blood stream and gets into the blood quicker, which is exactly what you need immediately after a workout. It peaks after about 40 minutes, and lasts about an hour.

Micellar-Isolate Protein Powder is the highest quality form of protein powder.

Called a ‘muscle-sparing’ protein, casein releases much more slowly in the body, causing a steady release of amino acids into the blood, over a longer period of time.

A fast-digesting protein, such as white fish is a better pre-workout protein. And for breakfast, supplement with whey protein to combat the muscle breakdown that may occur due to the fasting that occurs while sleeping. Again, a better option here is a fast-digesting protein such as eggs.

Remember that what you eat and when you eat is just as important as the details of your specially designed workouts for women. Create a women’s fitness diet that best suits you and meets the needs of your workout. You’ll not only look better, and get improved results, but you’ll feel better, too.
Source by Flavia Del Monte

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