Three Reasons Why Post-Workout Nutrition is Important

January 10, 2018

Yogurt parfait with strawberries for a GAMMA Sports blog about post-workout nutrition.

For the sake of this post, we’re going to equate your body to a car.

We all know that with cars, there are many contributing factors that need to be in place in order for it to function properly. Namely, the vehicle needs gas to help fuel the engine so it can reach its destination!

The same goes for your body when you’re playing pickleball and tennis – the more energy you exert, the less gas you have in your tank to continue playing.

So what happens when you’ve given it your all on the court and your body reaches “E?”

Now you’ve exhausted all of your energy stores. Instead of trying to push ahead with what you have left, you can replenish and fill your tank up again! How, you may ask? Enter post-workout nutrition. What this means is that you replenish what your body used during play to help you perform your best the next time you hit the court.

Below, find some more information on post-workout nutrition, such as three reasons post-workout nutrition is important:

Replenish Your Energy Stores

Whether you’re hungry or not, you need to make sure that you incorporate a post-workout snack into your repertoire.

Post-workout nutrition is like the gas that you’d be adding back to your fuel tank. It helps refill the energy stores that you depleted during exercise, which are primarily glycogen, electrolytes, and fluids.

To boost recovery times and replenish your body’s energy stores, make sure to fit your post-workout snack within a window of 15 minutes to an hour after exercise.

Glycogen

This is basically your store of carbohydrates, and when these levels are low, you need to replenish with carbs. A great example of what to eat after a workout to refuel your glycogen levels is a banana.

Electrolytes  & Fluids

We’ve all heard the term electrolytes thrown around in the fitness industry, but what exactly are they? Long story short, electrolytes are essentially salts that help regulate the flow of water in and out of our cells. Without them, the cells would shrivel up and die which is exactly what we don’t want to happen. When we workout, we tend to sweat and when we sweat, we lose electrolytes which is why hydration is crucial during and after exercise. Of course, water and sports drinks are both great choices when rehydrating, but surprisingly chocolate milk has gained popularity as being the perfect post-workout drink. Why, you may ask? Thanks to its three to one ratio of carbohydrate to protein, it will help repair and rebuild the muscles that you’ve exhausted in your workout.

Feed Your Muscles

The sore muscle you have, the more calories you burn. That’s why post-workout fuel, specifically protein-rich food, is necessary. Think of protein as the oil in your car. It helps keep the car running properly and at optimal levels and the same goes for protein in the body. We all know that we should eat a protein-rich snack after our workout to help fuel our muscles but we get lost in what we should eat. Here are a couple of options to get you started:

Protein shake

This is perhaps the most obvious protein-rich option for a post-workout snack. Consider blending together a low-calorie protein powder, the milk of your choice and a handful of your favorite fruits for an on-the-go protein shake.

Whole grain bread & peanut butter

The combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat make this snack a great post-workout fuel option. All three work together to help restore your depleted energy stores so that you can recover and gear up for your next win on the court.

Greek yogurt & fruit

Not only is this snack packed with protein, it also contains valuable carbohydrate levels that’ll help fuel your recovery, replenish your energy stores and repair the muscles that you used during your workout.

Promote Recovery

We’ve all been there before. Once your workout is complete and you continue on with your day, you slowly but surely feel those familiar feelings of soreness. This means that your body is starving for nutrition that’ll help aid in recovery and build lean muscle mass.  Post-workout nutrition can help in the rebuilding of your muscles so they’re primed and ready to go the next time you hit the court.

As you can see, post-workout nutrition is an integral cog in the fitness wheel. Remember, your snack after a workout doesn’t have to be elaborate. Keep our examples and mind and see what works best for you.

Check back next week because we’re going to be sharing four stretches that you should do before every match. Until then, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and subscribe to our newsletter below!