Fueling Systems: #4 Post Exercise

Fueling Systems: #4 Post Exercise

Sarah Seads, BA Kinesiology

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You just pushed through an intense training session and are ready to put your feet up on the couch. Stop and head to the fridge first! By following a simple post-exercise fueling plan (and I don't mean beer and nachos) you will improve your performance at your next workout or race by super loading your muscle cells with fuel.

Athletes who exercise to exhaustion (endurance events) OR athletes performing multiple training sessions within a 12-24 hour period (tournaments or double workout days) will see a an improvement in future performance when they follow these post- exercise fuel rules:

Consume approximately 1-1.5 grams of quick release (simple) carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight within 30 minutes of your exhausting endurance training sessions and every 2 hours following.

That is approximately 50-100 grams. Banana & sports drink, bagel & peanut butter, sports bar and chocolate milk, granola bar & juice etc...

Timing: 30 minute window. Muscle cells are more sensitive to re-resorption of glycogen during this critical period and are able to ‘super-load’ their storage levels of this fuel. Storage capacity decreases every hour after this period. Having a higher store of glycogen is will allow you to go further and faster in future training sessions by delaying the onset of muscle fatigue. Super loading is critical for training sessions that take place within 24 hours of each other and following exhausting exercise that depletes muscle glycogen stores.

Follow with a balanced meal containing complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean protein. Whole grains and pasta are good examples of complex carbohydrates. Protein will help your body rebuild and repair muscles. Cottage cheese is a great source of protein that is low in fat and a good source of calcium. Lean meats, dairy, soy, and nuts and seeds and legumes are all good sources of quality protein.

Note: Some recent research suggests consuming a small amount of lean protein with your 30-minute post exercise snack may increase muscle cell re-synthesis although further study is needed. Consuming a small amount of protein during post exercise period (.25g per kg body weight) does not appear to have a negative effect on absorption so you may choose to add a small amount to your refueling system along with your carbohydrate source.

Whitenay, E. N., & Rolfes, S.R. (2002). Understanding Nutrition (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Clark, N (1997). Sports Nutrition Guidebook (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Sarah Seads B.A. Kinesiology, is the owner of Equilibrium Lifestyle Management, based in the Comox Valley. ELM provides fitness and recreational services including injury rehabilitation, personal fitness training, fitness and lifestyle assessments, Fitness Bootcamp, ELM Women Only clinics and other Fitness Adventures. For more information please contact ELM at 338-8998 or check out www.elmhealth.com.