If workouts aren’t working, your nutrition might be to blame.
A good workout doesn’t just end with a cool-down. The key to maximizing your efforts comes in the minutes after your workout is finished. Yet, it’s often something women skip!
Studio 5 Health Contributor Miki Eberhart shares four problems and solutions to make sure you’re getting the most bang out of your workout buck!
Find more advice from Miki on Instagram, @nutritionbymiki.
4 Nutrition Tips to Help When Your Workouts Aren’t Working
- Problem: Waiting too long to eat
Solution: Eat within 15-45 minutes after your workout is complete. The sooner the better. Why? Exercise depletes your body’s stored energy and causes muscle damage. Eating counteracts those effects, restoring energy and helping repair your muscles
- During this window the enzymes and hormones in your muscles are at their peak to help refuel your muscles’ energy stores which…
- Prevents muscle fatigue for your next workout. Ever felt like you’re just dragging? Don’t have the energy? Often that’s because you missed that 30 minute “window of opportunity” right after your workout.
- If you wait just two hours post workout to consume a meal, your ability to refuel your muscles diminishes by 50 percent, found a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
- Proper post-workout nutrition may also help promote muscle growth and boost your mood.
- Problem: Not getting the right combination of macros (Protein is often heavily pushed, but the reality is carbs are essential for that post-workout window)
Solution: Aim for at least 30-40g carbs + 10-15g protein immediately post workout
- If you don’t have a strong appetite after a workout, a huge amount of food or beverage is not required. Often a hard workout or when it’s hot outside, it can kill your appetite and the last thing you want to do is eat. That macro combination is only 160-220 calories.
- Having said that, you can totally eat more than that if you are hungry or had an especially grueling workout or if you’re going to not have a meal for a few hours.
- And if you are hungry right after your workout and its mealtime, eating a meal with carbs and protein does the trick too…but remember it needs to be within that 15-45 min window.
- Let’s talk about some suggestions and what that looks like with food which actually leads to the next problem…
- Problem: Thinking you have to buy expensive powders, drinks, or mixes to be effective
Solution: You don’t.
- Commercial recovery drinks and bars are convenient options as they often have the proper ratio in a portable package. You don’t have to invest in these pricey foods, however, to get adequate recovery. Steer clear of protein drinks with zero carbs. You need those carbs right after the workout.
- Low fat chocolate milk. Perfect ratio. 8-10 g protein, 24-28g carbs. Easy to down a cup if you don’t have a big appetite.
- ½ scoop protein powder + frozen or fresh fruit + water
- ¼ c nut butter + ¾ c apple & banana slices
- Greek yogurt + berries & banana slices
- Scrambled eggs + toast + fruit
- G2G Bar or banana w/pb butter packet or tuna + crackers can be good on the go options you can pack ahead of time
- Problem: Not continuing to drink water throughout the day
Solution: Hydrate. Make it easy & convenient.
- Like oil in a car engine, water provides the lubrication at so many key points in your metabolism
- During your workout (if your stomach can take it) and then keep that water bottle easily accessible all day…while you drive, at your desk at work, on your counter at home. Makes sipping it much easier.
- And remember as the water gets warmer and your spending more time outside, will need to drink even more…going for pale yellow urine as the marker that you’re hydrated.