7 Tips for Refueling After Exercise

written by Lauren Elizabeth January 12, 2019
7 Tips for Refueling After Exercise

Refueling properly after exercise {endurance events, high intensity training} is important to replenish the nutrients & fluids you have lost to maintain muscle in order to continue having productive workouts. Replenishing your fluids after exercise is essential. The harder and longer you exercise, the more fluid you lose during your session. You want to stay hydrated & replenish any fluids lost, especially in hot & humid weather conditions, to allow your body to function at its best.

1. CALCULATE how much to replenish.

Weigh yourself before and after a workout to get an estimation of how much fluid you have lost. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends drinking 600-1,200 milliliters (2.5-5 cups) of fluid per hour of exercise.

After exercise, rehydrate with 16-24 fl oz of fluid per pound lost.

2. WHAT to drink.

Under an hour….WATER!

If sessions are longer or more intense, refuel with a carbohydrate sports drink that contains electrolytes and not high in sugar. This is more palatable than water and will replenish any electrolytes you may have lost to rehydrate faster. 

3. WHEN to refuel with carbohydrates.

If you engage in moderate exercise for 3-5x per week at a duration of 30-60 minutes, a proper and balanced diet along with hydration will maintain your carbohydrate stores. For those that exercise at a higher intensity and more than once a day, your muscles carbohydrate stores (glycogen) need to be restored immediately after exercise and again at your next meal. 

4. TYPE of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates found in juices and sport drinks are faster and easier to digest than solid food. But if you prefer solid food remember to stick with complex carbohydrates such as: fruit, greek yogurt, eggs, greek yogurt, rice cake+peanut butter, or a sports bar. 

5. HOW much protein.

If you are mixing carbohydrate & protein, it is recommended to consume 3:1 or 4:1 ratio. Example: 2 servings of veggies, 1 serving of grain (oatmeal), & 1 serving of lean meat.

There are a few misconceptions about the consumption of protein. First, your body can only process so much protein into amino acids, “building blocks,” so much at a time. So, consuming huge amounts of protein isn’t going to pack on bulks of muscle. The daily recommendation for protein consumption is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for the average individual. For athletes and intense exercisers, you are going to need 1 gram to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight.

6. WHY consume protein.

Proteins are the main substance the body uses to build & repair tissues. They also aid in maintaining normal balance of bodily fluids. Proteins are broken down into amino acids which are the body’s building blocks. There are 8 amino acids that our body cannot produce and have to be consumed from sources such as animal proteins, quinoa, soy, legumes, grains, and hemp.

7. WHEN you need SODIUM.

I am referring to plain jane sodium, not salt-sodium chloride (NaCl). It can be found in many sports drinks, foods, & processed foods. KNOW when you need to replenish! Sodium & potassium are important minerals to maintain a chemical concentration in our body to produce work. If exercising in high heat and/or for long durations, we can lose as much as 10 grams of sodium per day.  Some potassium is also lost but usually replenished from  muscle and blood stores. But remember to consult with a physician before beginning an exercise or nutrition program to be sure you do not already have an imbalance. 

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