Here at this blog we always talk about exercising and fitness. Admittedly, our focus is typically on routines and the exercise itself. This rings true for the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint as well. That being said, today’s article is for both people who are general fitness enthusiasts as well as those in athletic fields who train at a higher level.
It is vital to ensure that while you are training right, you also take careful consideration to recover from a strenuous workout as well. This means you should take care of your body exercising as you would before the activity. In many situations it is even more important because after exercise you are tired, drained and are lacking some vital nutrients that your body really needs.
One of the things that sports medicine professionals constantly flag is the fact that exercises often fail to restore fluids to their body after exercising. Personally this is a consideration when I was doing military service as well. Most of us are complacent, but the fact is that when we are doing vigorous exercise, we lose large amounts of fluid through sweating and creates a huge void that must be filled.
Some people swear by weighing themselves before engaging in any athletic activity and then again immediately afterwards. While the average person who is trying to lose weight may be excited initially about the weight loss, it is important to realize that you have only lost fluids, and those fluids must be replaced quickly.
To rehydrate your body thoroughly it is recommended that you drink as much as 24 ounces of water for each pound of weight that you lost. This will help you to quickly recover the fluids that your body is missing, while still keeping your stomach light enough to handle a brief rest before eating. However, this is just a general guide. When in doubt, drink more rather than less.
Now it is time to stir the pot of controversy. I’m going to say that for most of us, water is the best liquid to consume. I know there are proponents of sports drinks, and this is fair enough. However, most of us are not exercising at the intensity or duration that warrants it. To be fair, sports drinks do replenish certain salts that are lost during exercise. For athletes, it is definitely important.
After your exercise is over, it is also good if you can consume some form of carbohydrate within twenty minutes, as this can aid in muscle recovery. Try a slice of fruit or even a natural juice. Fruit juice and vegetable juices are great for this purpose. However, only have a little bit, as most of them may be high in calories.
If training at a high level, sports medicine professionals recommend combining carbohydrates with proteins to really speed the energy stores back into the body. The best guideline to use is giving the body a unit of protein for every four units of carbohydrate. It is confusing, I know. I deliberately did this to separate out the athletes from the rest of us.
For athletes, it has been determined that this “golden ratio” is the formula that allows the body to recover in the shortest amount of time while still keeping the intake light enough to not cause any stomach problems. Whether you look towards a solid food or drink that combined proteins and carbohydrates together is entirely up to you.
Remember, consuming additional calories immediately after a workout may seem counterintuitive, but it is very important that the energy stores of the body be replaced to ensure that you are not causing more harm than good to your body. Lack of energy even following an exercise program can be very harmful to the body if not quickly treated and can also increase the risks of injury, which make it even more harmful.
If you are still uncomfortable with it, try to have sports drinks with no sugar added. This will replenish the salt supplies while not adding calories to your diet. That being said, I have to emphasize, once again, that most people do not exercise at high enough intensity to warrant a boost of electrolytes immediately.
If you are concerned that you are still weak or tired after a workout, it may be time to consult with your doctor and increase the amount of carbohydrates that you are consuming. The same may hold true if you are experiencing muscle weakness or fatigue following a workout for your protein levels. Alternatively, check that you are not going too extreme in your workout.
Never assume that the exact amount of carbohydrate and protein intake levels that work for one person are going to work for you. You need to know exactly what your body requires based upon your individual needs and workout patterns. Once you find your sweet spot, you are well on your way to your fitness goals. Don’t forget to also check out the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint.
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