As athletes, we want our bodies to be their best; which means, we must have the right nutrition which can vary widely based on what kind of exercise, your body type, and your goals.
This blog post is sponsored by Grapes from California. I have been compensated for my time commitment. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.
Professional athletes are perfect examples for just how important post-workout nutrition is. These individuals work with cutting edge nutrition professionals and use food as a tool to increase athletic performance. One meal could be the reason for a stronger lift or a faster time in a race. These details matter.
While we all cannot say we are training for a competition or game, we may have other reasons for staying active and eating well. Exercise has many benefits like improving sleep quality, increasing muscle mass, and promoting bone health.(1) When combined with healthy eating, an additional benefit arises such as lowering risk for developing chronic diseases. (2) While eating an overall healthful and balanced diet is important, nutrition after a workout can have big impacts. The right nutrition helps achieve peak performance, recover faster, and prevent dehydration and fatigue.
What Should You Eat? What we eat after a workout may depend on the type of workout being conducted. Exercise can be split into two types: resistance and endurance training. Resistance training involves strength movements using bodyweight or weighted equipment, while endurance training consists of longer periods of running, dancing, and cycling.
When we do resistance workouts, we create small tears in our muscle fibers and connective tissues. With proper nutrition and adequate sleep, our bodies rebuild these tears into bigger and stronger muscles. Many people resistance train with goals of gaining more muscle and increasing their lean body mass. In order to do so, you need to be getting sufficient nutrients all throughout the day and especially after your workout.
One study gave a group of female collegiate basketball players either a protein supplemental drink or a placebo before and after their weighted workout routine for 8 weeks. Researchers found that the protein supplemented group had significantly increased their upper body strength when doing a one max bench press by about 10 pounds! (4) With endurance workouts, we need to make sure we are supplying ourselves with enough energy needed to sustain these longer sessions. The International Society of Sports Nutrition has made a statement that increasing protein in endurance training does not improve performance. However, some studies suggest that consuming protein and carbohydrate nutrition during and after endurance training can reduce muscle soreness and muscle breakdown! (4)
Again, we all might not be working out for performance goals, but the same still rings true if you are trying to lose weight – it is important to maximize your workouts with post-workout nutrition. Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are known as macronutrients that are all involved in your body’s recovery process.
● Protein: Studies show that having 20-30 grams of protein after your workout can maximize the body’s ability to recover.(6)
● Carbs: When you exercise, your body uses stored glycogen as a fuel source. If you primarily do endurance training, you may need more carbs to replenish the glycogen than bodybuilders do. When paired with protein, carbs maximize the body’s ability to synthesize protein and glycogen after a workout.(6) A match made in heaven.
● Fat: Fats hold many benefits like aiding the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. While it might be advisable to limit the amount of fat after you exercise, having some fat in your post-workout meal or snack will not affect or diminish your recovery.(7)
A great rule of thumb is to eat a carbohydrate and a protein source within 45 minutes of your workout like the smoothie below. During this time, your body’s ability to rebuild and replenish stores is enhanced.
Post Workout | Peanut Butter and Grape Smoothie
Servings: 1 | Prep Time: 5 minutes
Nutrition: Calories 470 | Protein 34g | Carbohydrates 35g | Fat 20g
● 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
● 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
● 2 Tbsp of nut butter, natural
● 1 cup California grapes
● ½ banana
● 1 cup ice
Directions: Combine all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.
You may be asking, why grapes?
● Support a healthy heart
● Deliver beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols that help promote health, including a strong immune system
● Can positively affect oxidative stress and inflammation in the body
● Contain low-glycemic carbohydrates which aid in replenishing glucose storage
By themselves, grapes are a healthy and portable snack to take on the go, but by adding an ingredient or two, grapes can be taken from a fun and healthy grab-and-go bite to the ideal post-workout meal.
In case you need more proof that California grapes should be incorporated into your athletic regime, they’re hydrating – just one cup of grapes has only 100 calories and is composed of over 80% water! Just a mere 2% drop in hydration has been shown to negatively impact athletic performance so it’s crucial for athletes to stay hydrated at all times to achieve peak performance.
After a strenuous workout, it’s important to replenish and repair. Your muscles have been damaged, and their energy stores have been used up, so make sure to eat something that will send you on the road to recovery. From an anytime snack to an easy-to-digest pre-workout snack to helping recover after a workout, incorporating grapes from California sets you on the path for achieving greatness.
1 Benefits of Physical Activity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm. Published April 5, 2021. Accessed June 15, 2021.
2 Healthy diet. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/initiatives/behealthy/healthy-diet. Accessed June 15, 2021.
3 Patel PN. Physiology, Exercise. StatPearls [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482280/. Published September 21, 2020. Accessed June 15, 2021.
4 Jäger R;Kerksick CM;Campbell BI;Cribb PJ;Wells SD;Skwiat TM;Purpura M;Ziegenfuss TN;Ferrando AA;Arent SM;Smith-Ryan AE;Stout JR;Arciero PJ;Ormsbee MJ;Taylor LW;Wilborn CD;Kalman DS;Kreider RB;Willoughby DS;Hoffman JR;Krzykowski JL;Antonio J; International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28642676/. Accessed June 15, 2021.
5 R; PKP. Chocolate milk: a post-exercise recovery beverage for endurance sports. Medicine and sport science. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23075563/. Accessed June 15, 2021.
6 BJ; AAAS. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23360586/. Accessed June 15, 2021.
7 JF; FAKKAEH. Adding fat calories to meals after exercise does not alter glucose tolerance. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14978010/. Accessed June 15, 2021.