The enzymes in your muscles are more active in the first 30 minutes or so after exercise which makes this the ideal time to take in fuel and optimize muscle building and recovery. If you are just getting started into an exercise routine a 100 calorie snack and 3-4 cups of water after a workout will suffice. However, if you are exercising > 4 days per week for an hour or more with some days being pretty intense then you need to start paying more attention to the make-up of those recovery snacks. Also, if you plan your workouts so that a regular meal will follow right afterwards then that meal will take the place of your recovery snack. Aim for at least 2 healthy snacks per day but if your hunger alarm is ringing then add a third healthy snack to quiet down the hunger alarm. Honor your body and choose foods that make you feel healthy and happy.
Additionally, by taking in recovery food immediately, you'll be able to fight off the unhealthy cravings that destroy your diet when you finally get to the next meal. Sticking to your goals will feel easier because you'll be in control of your appetite instead of famished and willing and wanting to eat whatever unhealthy treats tempt you.
Optimize Recovery- Rehydrate
Drink 3 cups of fluid for every 1 pound lost. If you are not able to weigh yourself then drink 4 cups of fluid for every 1 hour of exercise
Water is the best choice if exercise session is less than an hour, sports drink would be a better choice if you have exercised greater than 1hour.
Include a good protein source. Once you are exercising more than 4 days per week consisting of intense workouts longer than 1 hour then you will want to aim for 20-30 g Protein to stimulate muscle synthesis and repair.
More is not always better! Will slow rehydration & glycogen replenishment.
To maximize glycogen synthesis…take in some healthy carbohydrate (from fruggies, low-fat dairy or whole grains). A small amount is enough until you take your training above 4 days/w with some intense workouts > 1hour.
When you get to that level then take your body weight in pounds and divide it in half to determine the number of carb grams to consume in your recovery snacks.
• For example, John weighs 180 pounds (180/2 =90), he should consume at least 90 grams of carbohydrate.