Did you know the foods you eat play a big role in your recovery after a workout? Below are common questions about different foods.

Should I consume protein after a workout?

YES. When you lift weights or do cardio for 45 minutes to an hour, it is important to have a protein shake (preferably whey protein) within 30 minutes after you finish. Whey protein is important to consume because it is absorbed into the body the fastest. It is ideal to absorb around 20 grams of protein. The average person is unable to digest more than 30 grams of protein at one time therefore consuming a shake with 50 grams of protein actually is not better for you. If you eat chicken or fish, it takes time for your body to digest and absorb the nutrients. Also by consuming protein right after a workout, it will decrease the amount of soreness you feel the next day by almost half and will help speed up your recovery.

Do I need a sports drink? 

YES. If you are going to be doing high intensity exercises for more than an hour or if you sweat a lot then it is important for you to consume a sports drink. Sugar is something to look for when you are looking for a sports drink because they often put too much sugar and artificial dyes in the drinks, which can make your stomach cramp instead of helping you. I recommend using Vitalyte because it only has 10 grams of sugar, which comes from glucose, and it does not cause cramping or upset stomach like other products such as Gatorade can.

Should I eat an energy bar?

YES. Energy bars are perfect for a snack before a workout if you are not able to eat a meal. However, you want to be careful of the calories and sugar in it. It is important to not workout on an empty stomach so having something to eat that is balanced in protein and carbohydrates will allow your workout be more efficient.

Should I eat Bananas?

MAYBE. Bananas are a great snack before a workout because they are light and have a balance of carbohydrates. If you are not sure how your body will respond to eating bananas then do not try to eat them during an event or right before. You should never change up your routine before a race or competition because you will not know how your body will respond. Some people do not do well eating bananas because there is a lot of sugar in them which can cause stomach cramping so find what works best for you.

Is chocolate milk good for me?

YES. Chocolate milk is very beneficial after a workout because it has the proper balance of carbohydrates to protein ratio discussed before and it is a lot cheaper than a protein shake. Most people love chocolate milk where as not many people like protein shakes. However, if you have a dairy allergy it is not recommended to consume chocolate milk.

Is jerky a good snack?

YES. Jerky is a great snack because it has a lot of protein and it is easy to take wherever you go. Many jerky brands contain nitrates and nitrites so make sure to choose one that does not contain any of these harmful chemicals.

If you have more questions about what foods to eat or not to eat before or after a workout or how the timing of what you eat affects your workout and recovery please contact our office at 303-781-5617.

Copyright © 2012. Integrated Health Systems. All rights reserved. Jodie is the therapy assistant and personal trainer for Integrated Health Systems. You can contact Jodie at Jodie@integratedhealthdenver.com . If you are struggling with your health and want to learn more, visit our website at www.integratedhealthdenver.com