After a tough workout, your focus should shift from finishing up your post-workout pliability to kicking off the next phase of your recovery – refueling your body through proper nutrition and adequate hydration. Here at TB12, we recommend using the three R’s – refuel, rebuild, and rehydrate – to guide yourself through the process of post-workout recovery and ensure that your body is ready for whatever challenge comes next.
1. Refuel…with Carbohydrates:
Think of carbohydrates as the gas in your car. After a workout your tank can be pretty empty, so you need to replenish your reserves. Avoid refined carbohydrates and processed snacks, and stick to good sources of carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes, fruit, and whole grains.
2. Rebuild…with Protein:
After a tough training session, you’ve broken down some of your muscle tissue. This is totally normal and part of the process of getting stronger, but it’s important to help the natural healing process in your body. Muscle is made of protein, and protein is made of long chains of amino acids, so be sure to provide your body with the building blocks needed to help the muscles repair. Aim for about 1-2 palms or fists of protein within an hour of the end of your workout. Healthy sources of protein include lean meats, Greek yogurt, and protein powder – we love both plant-based pea protein and whey isolate, as both are pure sources of protein with rich amino acid profiles to aid in recovery.
3. Rehydrate…with Water (and Electrolytes):
We lose electrolytes by sweating and exhaling, which is why the body loses more electrolytes during exercise than when at rest throughout the day. Consuming water that contains electrolytes helps to reduce this deficit by supporting the nerve-to-muscle communication of your 650+ skeletal muscles. Aim for 16-24 oz of fluid per hour for the first 2-3 hours after your training session, and always add some electrolytes. Fully replenish your body after exercise by continuing to maintain your hydration baseline throughout the day. We recommend drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day.
Smoothies are an awesome source of post-workout recovery fuel, especially when you add protein powder and a variety of fruits, seeds, and nut butter. Try one of our favorite smoothies – like our Creamy Banana Blueberry, Lemonade Refresher, Blood Orange Smoothie, or our On-The-Go Power Smoothie.
Of course, a well-balanced meal is traditionally a better option – but sometimes time can be an issue. If you’re rushing from a workout to the office or to pick up your kids, there isn’t always time to prep and cook a nutritious meal amid a busy schedule. In those cases, smoothies and protein bars are a good supplement until you can prepare a nutritious meal.
However you prefer to fuel your body after a workout, just be sure it has the 3 R’s!