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Post-workout eating - what you need to bear in mind

The training is over – is it important that you eat something straight after training? And what should you eat? You can find out everything about post-workout eating in our blog post.

Table of contents:

  1. The optimal meal after a workout
  2. The perfect post-workout drink: our V-Loader
  3. Conclusion on post-workout eating

The optimal meal after a workout

Whether you want to build muscle, lose weight or simply optimize your training - the right post-workout meal is particularly important. This is because the body needs enough energy after a strenuous workout to replenish carbohydrate stores and promote regeneration and muscle growth. Above all healthy, quickly digestible carbohydrates and high-quality protein are of particular importance here.

If you're not hungry, you should at least have a small snack e.g. our V-Loader or a soy yoghurt with berries. The meal can then be postponed a little.

You should also make sure that you drink enough fluids and replenish minerals and trace elements that are lost through sweat during training after your workout. Sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc are particularly affected here (tip: with one of our zinc tablets you can cover your daily zinc requirement).

Carbohydrates – replenish the glycogen stores

During exercise, the body draws energy from glycogen (glycogen is the storage form of glucose). Depending on the muscle mass, two thirds of the stored glycogen is found in the muscles and one third in the liver. After a hard workout, these stores are therefore depleted. The body must therefore form new glycogen from glucose and store it again in the liver and muscles. The extent to which the glycogen stores are used naturally depends on the training. For example, endurance athletes need more glucose as an energy supplier than strength athletes. This is because normal strength training rarely consumes more than 400 kcal, which means your stores rarely reach their limit. Nevertheless, strength athletes also benefit from full glycogen stores.

Carbohydrates also stimulate the insulin secretion. Insulin ensures that glucose is transported into the muscle cells. Furthermore, insulin has an anabolic effect, which means that it builds muscle by allowing aminosäuren to enter the muscle more quickly.

In the absence of glucose, gluconeogenesis is initiated to produce glucose from other substances. Amino acids are used for this, which come from the breakdown of proteins and therefore, in the worst case, from important muscle mass.

After a workout, carbohydrates should therefore not be missing from a meal; experts recommend an intake of 0.5-1 g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight. Glycogen stores should be replenished with healthy carbohydrates. Porridge, pasta, rice, quinoa, proats, potatoes or bananas are suitable for this purpose.

No sweets after training

The temptation to indulge in something tasty is especially great after training. Sweets are very much in vogue. However, these do not provide the body with any nutrients, but only empty calories. In addition, they cause blood sugar levels to skyrocket and hunger attacks are therefore inevitable. Therefore, do not reach for sweets after training. There is one exception: our protein pudding, because it has a high protein content and is low in fat and sugar.

Alcohol should also be avoided after a workout. This is because it is high in calories and inhibits muscle growth.

Post-workout eating: Protein for regeneration and muscle building

Proteins are important building blocks of muscles. A protein-rich diet is therefore important so that the body can build up new muscle tissue and repair the smallest tears in the muscles. It also prevents important muscle mass from being broken down.

In order to increase protein biosynthesis, protein must be supplied. In particular, attention should be paid to the intake of essential aminosäuren BCAA– are particularly important. This is because BCAA trigger protein biosynthesis by activating the protein mTOR. Through activation, this protein initiates building and growth-promoting processes . Another positive aspect of BCAAs is that, unlike the other amino acids, they can be metabolized directly in the muscle and can therefore serve as an immediate energy supplier for the muscle cells.

Good sources of protein include pulses, nuts, tofu or our protein powder. A mixture of different protein sources is important so that the biological value is particularly high.

Post-workout food: A combination of protein and carbohydrates is important

Ideally, your post-workout meal should consist of a combination of protein  and carbohydrates . You should consume fat in moderation, as fat delays the absorption of the other two nutrients.

If carbohydrates and proteins are consumed at the same time, insulin secretion is optimized. For example, a study by Kalogeropoulou et al. (2008) shows that a combined intake of leucine and glucose leads to an increased insulin secretion 

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The right timing: When should you eat your post-workout meal?

Experts in the bodybuilding scene talk about the so-called anabolic window in this context. The anabolic window means that nutrients should be supplied promptly after training in order to stop the catabolic (breakdown) processes and activate the anabolic processes in the body instead. The anabolic window lasts for approximately 60 minutes after the workout. Protein biosynthesis should have reached its maximum in the first 45 minutes after training. During this period, the muscles should be particularly receptive to nutrients .

However, the study situation here is not clear. Studies show that protein biosynthesis is even higher than usual up to two days after a workout. In addition, the nutrients must first pass through the digestive tract and this rarely happens within the anabolic window.

Nevertheless, it makes sense to eat your post-workout meal in the first 2 hours after your workout in order to replenish glycogen reserves and support recovery with a protein-rich meal.

The perfect post-workout drink: our V-Loader

Post-workout drinks can also be valuable supplements in this context. It makes sense to drink a shake directly after training, as liquid food is absorbed more quickly by the body, i.e. the nutrients it contains reach the muscle more quickly. This is also the case with our V-Loader. It contains maltodextrin, pea protein and important amino acids, minerals and vitamins. Thus the ideal supply of the body after exercise.

What to do when losing weight

Even if you want to lose weight, you shouldn't skip a meal after exercise. Because overall, it depends on the calorie deficit during the day . If you consume more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. In this context, proteins and carbohydrates are also of particular importance. If you want to lose weight, you should pay attention to complex carbohydrates and sufficient fiber . These, like proteins, keep you full for a long time. Proteins also protect the body from muscle breakdown.

Important: Not only lose weight, but also build muscle. Because muscles burn more calories and increase the basal metabolic rate.

Conclusion on post-workout eating

An optimal post-workout meal should be particularly rich in carbohydrates and protein in order to replenish the glycogen stores in the body, promote regeneration and prevent muscle breakdown. In general, you should make sure you eat a healthy diet and choose foods with complex carbohydrates, high-quality protein, healthy fats, plenty of fiber and micronutrients. Our V-Loader can support you after a hard workout.

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