PT on the Net Research

Post Exercise Eating


Question

How long after you have trained should you eat?

  1. General training
  2. Weight loss
  3. Weight gain
  4. Muscle gain

Answer

This is a trick one:

The amount of food consumed post a work out will depend on several things:

  1. When was the last meal taken prior to exercise and how much?
  2. What type of activity was performed: Endurance ( how long??) / Resistance training ( how much volume??)
  3. Fitness level?

As a good rule of thumb, one should consume a carbohydrate snack ( i.e, banana, raisins, 1/2 bagel) about 2 hours prior to the activity. Again, post activity, there is a window of about 2 hours where the carbohydrate stores need to be replaced. Regardless if weight loss or gain is the goal, replenishing its energy stores post exercise will enhance the metabolic rate (energy expenditure). For those trying to loose weight, smaller amounts might be appropriate versus larger portions for those trying to maintain or gain weight (i.e, banana vs. banana plus raisins).Water should be consumed before, during and after a workout. Ideally, for every 1 hour of exercise, one should consume 12 to 16 ounces of cold water (1 medium water bottle). Post exercise, every 1 pound lost should be replaced with 2 cups of water.

Ideally, one should estimate his/her total caloric needs (based on gender, age, activity level) and then calculate caloric intake evenly throughout the day. For those trying to loose weight, a 500 kcal decrease per day is desirable (i.e. 250 kcal coming from exercise and 250 kcal excluded from the diet).

Lastly, the type of activity will play a very important role as well: endurance activities (1 hour or longer) will require larger amounts of carbohydrates for replenishing the energy stores used versus a resistance training session ( i.e. 60 to 65% X 50 to 55% of total calorie intake coming from CHO). Protein and fat intake should be around 15 % and 20 to 25% of the total caloric intake, respectively. And as a general rule, fit individuals will require a larger caloric intake when compared to unfit individuals.