This is a great question and as usual the answer is not straight forward because it will depend on the type of work out and your health and fitness goals.
Let’s say you have just done a great strength workout. What’s next? Do you starve yourself in the hope that your fired up metabolism will hungrily chew up excess body fat or do you rip into a raw steak and an egg combo as you leave the studio because you read that in “Bulk up dude!” monthly.
I am very glad you have come to us to verify this one because it is difficult to know what to do with so much conflicting information out there. Trust us to be your fitness and health info filter. We love this stuff and will find the best answer.
Believe me there is ALOT of information out there on this topic and much of it conflicting. However the consensus appears to be the following: If you are an endurance performer, i.e. love running marathons, swimming across oceans, cycling across countries etc. then your post work out nutrition should address muscle glycogen (or stored glucose vital for performance) and body water and electrolyte restoration. In regards to muscle glycogen, make sure you ingest a 4:1 carbohydrate:protein mix and do this with in 15 mins of finishing your event/workout. The exact amount you ingest will obviously depend on your body size and the size of the country you just crossed! But a general recommendation is 50-100grams of rapidly absorbed carbohydrate (high GI) and 10-20grams of protein. The added protein has been shown to make the absorption of carbohydrate much faster than if you just ingested carbohydrate alone.
Okay so not everybody is an endurance junkie I hear you cry. What about my needs after a 1 hour training session at best practice with a goal of losing body fat? The main thing you want to preserve post workout is muscle. Remember if you lose muscle you lose or lower your metabolic rate which of course is a big no no! As far as the body fat loss goals go, it is always a matter of burning more energy than you are consuming and that just comes down to total numbers (calories in versus calories out) for the day being in deficit. It is not a good idea to scrimp on calories post work out because this is a golden moment to preserve and encourage muscle growth. The time to watch calories is when you are curled up on the lounge late at night thinking about chocolate somethings!
Okay back to the question at hand. If you have done a strength workout I recommend getting around 10-20grams of protein and the same amount of fast absorbing carbohydrates. A sports drink and or protein bar with around this break down of with nutrients should suffice. If you have more questions about this please feel free to email or phone us direct.