Refuel your body

Article submission, Saturday 18th August 2007

What and when to eat after exercise is a common topic among athletes, body builders and even generally people trying to reduce weight. What they eat before, during and after a training session make a big difference to their goals whether it’s building body, developing stamina and strength or whether it’s being fit generally or reducing weight.

Good nutrition is about more than just what you eat. When you eat is equally important as how much you eat. Ideal nutrient combinations taken at optimal times enhances performance and recovery while improving muscles, these strategies can benefit everyday exercisers too. Surviving the latest low-carb and high protein diet craze is simple, when you know difference between good carbs, bad carbs and proteins with more biological value. It is wiser to follow a diet that is logical than to follow fads and omit foods completely and loosing on nutrients Sufficient calories should always be provided; fluids and electrolyte should be adequate for good results.

Understanding the body

The liver contains about 150g of glycogen (carbohydrate), and skeletal muscles about 400-500g therefore, glycogen cannot function as long term fuel. After weight training; the body is depleted of glycogen stores, which allows for a greater amount of glycogen synthesis after training. To compensate for this a person has to take in a large amount of carbohydrates immediately. High GI carbohydrates are preferred for their ability to raise insulin levels, thus increasing rate of nutrient storage. For protein synthesis, amino acids should be taken as well. There is a greater rate of glycogen synthesis when amino acids are included with carbohydrate.

After exercise it is necessary to fill the glycogen stores in the muscles. A liquid source of fast carbohydrates and protein in ratio 4:1 are generally recommended for optimal recovery.

The pre-exercise meals ensure that adequate glycogen stores are available for optimal performance; post-exercise meal is critical to recovery and improves your ability to train consistently. Carbohydrates taken within two hours of endurance exercise is essential to continue training. Protein has other important post-exercise qualities. Like it rebuilds muscle tissue that is damaged during intense, prolonged exercise. It can also increase the absorption of water from the intestines and improve muscle hydration. It can also stimulate the immune system, making you more resistant to colds and other infections.

So if you are looking for the best way to refuel your body after long, strenuous endurance exercise, a 4:1 combo of carbohydrate and protein seems to be your best choice. While solid foods can work just as well as a sports drink, a drink may be easier to digest. For non-protein sports drinks, simply add 1 Tbsp of protein powder for every 25 grams of carbohydrate to create the 4:1 ratio.

Above information is given in good faith however for any diseased condition please consult physician before starting it.

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