Angie Miller is a personal trainer and fitness instructor certified through NASM, AFAA, and ACE. She is also a Kettlebell Concepts, Mad Dogg Athletics Spinning, YogaFit, and EFI Sports Medicine Gravity Group Instructor who teaches classes in Elgin and Huntley, Illinois. Miller is also the creator of the highly acclaimed exercise DVD's "Core & Strength Fusion," "Kettlebell Bootcamp," and her most recent release, "Angie Miller's Crave Results". In addition, Miller is one of the fitness pros in the Top Trainers Workout DVD Set, an ACE and AFAA Continuing Education Provider, AFAA Certification Specialist, BOSU Master Trainer, Kettlebell Concepts Senior Instructor, and workshop provider at professional conventions worldwide. She is a fitness dynamo!
Angie Miller: Proper fluid balance is essential for athletes as well as recreational exercisers. Dehydration can negatively impact performance and when you don't get enough fluids it can interfere with your body's ability to maintain normal temperature. During most activities, water is adequate in order to prevent dehydration. However, during endurance events or activities greater than 60 minutes, a sports drink may be necessary to enhance performance. The drink should contain carbohydrates to properly fuel the nervous and muscular systems. Specifically for post-workout hydration, research suggests that for every pound of weight lost, drink approximately 16 to 20 ounces of fluid and then drink an additional 16 ounces of liquid with your post-workout meal.
Angie Miller: There is a window of opportunity or "metabolic window," that lasts approximately 60 to 90 minutes immediately following exercise, especially intense training. During this time, the body is most receptive to nutrient uptake, and you have the best chance of reducing muscle damage. This window also allows you to maximize the strength and muscle gains that you gained while working out.
Angie Miller: The moment you cease exercise this window opens, and from that time on the benefits begin to decrease. Because it generally takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to digest solid food, consuming solid food is not a recommended option during this time, as the window is closed by the time the food is digested. Although nutrition bars with the proper carbohydrate, protein and fat ratios can be effectively used before and after exercise, liquid is generally recommended because of how quickly it is absorbed and nutrients are delivered to the muscles.
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, "Because of the length of time it takes to digest and absorb the nutrients from traditional meals, whole foods… cannot deliver the required nutrients quickly enough to allow maximum results from exercise…" Therefore, fast-digesting, liquid replacement drinks are recommended to help you recover post-exercise, and to ensure muscle and strength gains.
Angie Miller: This is important for athletes and competitive exercisers who have rigorous training schedules. When it comes to consuming a post-event or post-exercise meal, one that consists of solid foods, most research supports that you should wait 1.5 to 2 hours after major activity depending on your post-training snack. Some studies show that you should wait approximately 1 hour post-workout if your snack/liquid replacement drink was less than 200 calories, and 1 to 2 hours later if it was more than 200 calories. In addition, research supports that the solid food post-workout meal should be approximately 60% carbohydrate, 20% protein, and 20% fat (carbohydrate should be 3 times higher than protein).
Angie Miller: For most recreational exercisers, post-workout feedings and snacks are not critical, but it can increase the potential benefits you receive from your workout, as well as help you to prevent injury, fight fatigue, and avoid the stress of overtraining.
Most importantly, regardless of the intensity of a workout, a post-exercise snack or replacement drink helps foster the following:
Angie Miller: While post recovery snacks and meals are important, they are not as significant to recreational exercisers as they are to endurance athletes. I always encourage my clients to remember that there's research, and there's the "ideal," then there's real life. If you don't fuel according the latest research, that's not to say you won't reap rewards and experience positive results. It is suggesting that you get even better results when you fuel properly, as well as improve your performance. My advice is to do what you can do, do the best you can, and try to make health-conscious choices when it comes to diet and exercise, not just post-recovery, but all the time.
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