You got your workout in—check! Now what’s next? Your post-workout recovery routine is an important part of making the most out of all your hard work. Naturally, all the things we should do to keep our muscles healthy and prevent injury—cooling down, stretching, foam rolling—often get forgotten because we have to get on with our busy lives. Regardless of how you cool down, making post-workout nutrition a priority may be the key to seeing your best results.
The “Re-Fuel” Window
In the first hour after exercising, look to replace the important nutrients lost during your workout. Many people in the fitness world call this the “refuel” or “anabolic window.” The goal here is to replenish muscle glycogen fuel stores to help repair the muscles. Glycogen is what keeps you going when your body isn’t getting energy from food—we love glycogen. When you break it down, glycogen is made up of glucose molecules, which are the main source of fuel for our cells. The way your body makes glucose is through breaking down the food you eat. The human body is incredibly smart when it comes to storing energy. When you don’t need the energy from food right away, glucose gets put into storage in the liver and muscles to use when you’re ready. These guys hate being alone, so they huddle together and call their new group “glycogen.” Then, when you do end up needing a boost of energy—to crush your next camp, for example—the group of glycogen is broken apart to release each glucose molecule into the bloodstream to be used as fuel for the cells, leaving the glycogen “storage facility” empty. Our job is to fill that storage container back up, which requires protein and carbohydrates.
Not every workout is created equal—even Burn Boot Camp’s weekly protocol balances strength and high-intensity cardio days. That being said, it is something to consider when choosing your post-workout fuel. After an intense workout, you want to make sure to get protein and carbs with foods like smoothies or an apple and peanut butter. If you need inspiration, check out these recipes:
After a strength-based workout, adding a scoop of protein to some water or your milk of choice is a great way to make sure you don’t miss the anabolic window. Try to use a high-quality protein powder that is minimally processed for maximum absorption. Some key things to look for on the label:
- Contains zero artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives
- Grass-fed, non-denatured whey
- More than 20 grams of protein per serving
Two options we love that meet all these requirements :
The International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests active people aim for an overall daily protein intake of between 0.64 and 1 grams per pound of body weight—for example, a 150-pound active person needs roughly 95 to 150 grams of protein per day. If you find that you are falling short of the recommended amount, a serving of AfterBurn protein powder will give you 23 grams per serving.
10 Ways to Use Protein Powder
If you are feeling adventurous, these Burn recipes are so delicious, you won’t believe they pack a protein punch:
- Funfetti Afterburn Protein Bars
- Baked Maple Protein Oatmeal
- Protein-Packed Afterburn Pancakes
- Giant Triple Chocolate Protein Cookie
- Sugarless Sugar Cookies with Whipped Protein Frosting