So how do you refuel your energy stores? And what should you eat post-workout?
Basic things to ingest: Protein, carbohydrates, glutamine, BCAAs, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Protein- helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissues. Protein also contains essential amino acids that are required by the body every day.
Carbohydrates- high glycemic index carbs (best Dextrose, Maltodextrin), and also sucrose which is a natural element found in fruits. These carbs drive up insulin levels and help protein synthesis. Basically these guys are little 'taxis' that help cram all the glycogen building nutrients into muscle cells.
Glutamine- virtually every cell in the body uses this amino acid. During times of stress the body cannot produce enough glutamine to keep up with demand. Low levels of glutamine in the body can reduce perfomance, immune function, and mood. It also promotes cell volumization, increases protein synthesis, and decrease protein breakdown.
Antioxidants- these guys help maintain the integrity of your cell membranes and increase the blood's oxygen carrying capacity. If you have low levels of antioxidants it negatively affects aerobic performance.
BCAA's (Branched Chain Amino Acids)- low levels of BCAAs contribute to muscle fatigue. Studies have shown that if ingested after exercise athletes have greater levels of lean muscle mass retention and an ability to improve performance capacity in hot climates. For the average person, low levels of BCAAs give you a feeling of lethargy and sleepiness.
So what do I eat?
Sometimes I create a little post-workout cocktail that has been very beneficial during my training. Here is what I use:
-5 frozen strawberries
-5 chunks of frozen mangos
-a couple scoops of nonfat vanilla yogurt (1/2 of a yoplait)
-100% pure juice (Dole makes 100% strawberry and mango juice)
-2 scoops of whey protein isolate (about 45 grams of protein) (tofu also works great... just make sure it is silken*)
-1 scoop of glutamine (5 grams)
I actually add the protein after the shake is blended and pour the powder in while it is still blending, it seems to mix more thoroughly that way.
Total= about 400 calories, 70-100 grams of carbs, 45 grams of protein, plenty of vitamins, plenty of antioxidants, and a good amount of BCAA's.
Obviously this is a little labor intensive. But something else that works well is simply.... Chocolate Milk. Although it has a high sugar content, it is still an excellent source of carbs, good fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Plus it is cheap, and fairly portable. Slim Fast, Boost, and the generic forms of meal replacement drinks are other great choices.
Typically liquid meals are better for post-workout meals because of the rapid absorbion. Naturally it takes a lot less time to break down an ounce of liquid, than it does an ounce of something in solid form.
There are a few supplements I take when I get lazy and do not feel like mixing up a shake. Powerbar, and Hammer Nutrition have decent recovery mixes, but a company called 1st Endurance came out with a product called Ultragen that has almost all the ideal stuff in it. They are pretty spendy, but they do help you recover much faster than any other products I have tried. I have yet to come across a company that has ALL the right stuff but I will keep searching and inform you at a later date. Maybe that will be my next project after Ironman; starting my own supplement company.
As for my training this week, My big workouts were a 100-mile bike ride on Thursday after my Communication 323 final, I will have 14 mile run this Saturday. I have five swims, two little bike rides (less than 50 miles each), and two other little runs (less than 6 miles each). I should be right around 18-19 hours this week. This week is also my last BIG week before I start to taper. And guess what? Next Saturday I actually have a day off! First Saturday off in.... atleast 4 months. Gettting to sleep in sounds heavenly. Yay for me :)
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
-Steve Jobs, founder of Apple