When to eat after training?
The short answer is, it’s in your best interests to eat as soon as possible after your training session. Within 20 minutes of your last rep is the optimal time to start digestion a mix of protein for muscle repair… And carbohydrate for muscle glycogen (muscle energy).
Picture a night club and the bouncer, is letting everyone in til midnight through the side entrance then he is shutting the door, a nutrient in your muscles called creatine kienase is that bouncer….waving all the carbs and protein you eat into the club (your Muscle cells) for 20 minutes after your session. After that everyone has to walk the long way around to get into the club! All hope is not lost if you do miss that 20 minute window, it is just going to take the nutrients a lot longer to get into your muscle cells after digestion.
The reason carbohydrate and protein should be eaten together as carbohydrate produces an insulin response, insulin is released in to the blood stream and insulin helps the carbohydrate get converted and packed back into the Muscle cells and the protein to begin muscle repair so your muscles are ready for action during your next session, or your afternoon work schedule.
Fat is a vital part of everyone’s diet but should be avoided immediately post workout as it slows digestion and absorption of all the nutrients eaten in that meal.
Although it sounds negative…your muscles and energy systems are very depleted and damaged after a CrossFit training session, which usually combines both strength training and high reps which deplete Muscle glycogen. If you have ever been extremely sore from training your post workout nutrition probably wasn’t perfect that day, because as soon as you have your post workout shake or meal the repair process begins. The next phase after damage and depletion….is supercompensation! The wonderful time when your muscles have strengthened and are ready to be challenged again!
How much should I eat?
It definitely depends on the individual, the training session and a few other factors but generally speaking. Post workout:
- .8 X your body weight in grams of carbohydrate
- .6 X your body weight in grams of protein
What should I eat/ drink?
Rememebring protein is everything that once had eyes and came from an animal! Carbohydrate is all plant foods including sugar.
If you are like me and enjoy a tasty milkshake there are some excellent brands on the market that are clean, get their protein and carbs from good sources and don’t have any added chemicals or preservatives in them. True Protein is an Austrlaian brand that meets these standards. But this is not a true protein advertisement.. If you can’t stomach whole food within 20 minutes of your training session and your other meals of the day are good quality from whole food sources. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a flavoured protein shake, especially choclate!
For years I would sit down after a hectic training session still feeling sick… Pull the lid off my can of tuna or 2 cans usually as one only had 15 grams of protein and I needed 30! Eat a banana and an apple and then some sweet potatoe on the way home in the car whilst sipping water to hydrate. I still do that sometimes but day in day out it is a little unsustainable, although this is the best way to get not only the macronutrients but also vitamins, fibre and the benefits that come from chewing your food.
What you choose depends on you, but know how much protein and carbs you need first before you decide.
These days I enjoy my protein shake post wod and usually have an apple too to get some extra vitamins and save the sweet potatoe for dinner time.