Post-exercise nutrition completes the workout

By: Sanford Health News .

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People working out but not properly nourishing themselves afterward may be letting many of the benefits of their workout slip away.

Exercise scientists have pinpointed a 45-minute window after a workout that calls for taking in a 3:1 ratio of mixed carbohydrate and protein — for every 3 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of protein. This ratio allows the body to take in as many nutrients as possible, as carbohydrates provide energy, and protein repairs and builds muscles. Hydration replaces lost fluids and electrolytes.

After the 45 minutes, bodies become less and less sensitive to taking in these valuable nutrients. Different people have different preferences in post-workout food routines. And today there are more options to choose from than ever.

Some enjoy chocolate milk — even soy milk or lactose-free. Some have a bagel or a large banana with peanut butter, or make a smoothie with yogurt and fruit. Others prefer to grab a bowl of cereal with milk or enjoy a peanut butter sandwich with jelly or honey.

Though the examples are endless, there are guidelines to keep in mind no matter the preference: it must be convenient and available. So, planning ahead is key.