Reboot + recover
pre- and Post-Workout nutrition 101
Learn which essential macro and micro-nutrients your body needs to rehydrate, replenish, and reboot for optimizing your performance in your workouts! We're simplifying the science so you can best restore your glycogen stores, refuel with electrolytes and repair your growing muscles... and in our opinion, it doesn't hurt doing so with a Unicorn smoothie or popsicle! #WorkoutMotivation
your workout starts with nutrition
What you eat before and after your workout is extremely important. Fueling your fitness with the proper nutrition will help to maximize the benefits of all your hard work at the gym. Here's the thing, it's very easy to overeat with your pre and post-workout snack or meal. Many of us end up overcompensating and eating or drinking more calories than we're about to burn or have actually burned. This is fine if you are trying to gain weight, but for those who want to lose weight, this is counterproductive! Skip the pre-packaged energy drinks, bars, sugary smoothies, and smoothie bowls topped with granola at the gym's juice bar because surprisingly most often then not, these 'healthy foods' can contain a lot of added sugars, artificial ingredients, and are calorically dense.
First and foremost, this information needs to be applied in general terms because the amount of nutrients needed to reboot your body before and after a workout depends on many factors, namely the length and intensity of the exercise, the environmental conditions, and your individual physiology. A good starting point is to ask yourself a few questions.
ask the RD: what does my body need before a workout?
Ask yourself: before a workout, how is my energy level?
Of all the foods you could have before a workout, prioritize ones rich in carbohydrates, especially if you really want to “amp up” your fat burn. This is the body’s preferred energy source during exercise. If you're feeling low on energy before working out, maybe you haven't fueled your body with the proper amount of carbohydrates or chosen the right, high quality foods.
Ask yourself: do I feel lethargic or sleepy during my workout?
When we eat carbohydrates, we break them down into glucose. Glucose enters into our muscle cells as glycogen and gives us fuel to exercise at our maximum capacity. If you're no fueling your body right with glucose prior to your workout, you'll have a low blood sugar and likely feel weak, tired, and fog minded, ultimately not performing your best in the gym. It’s good to have a little protein and fats in your pre-workout meal or snack but, neither will raise your blood sugar and give you the energy your body requires for each muscle contraction. Therefore, focus on making carbohydrates the star of your pre-workout fuel.
Ask yourself: What time of day do I typically workout and when was my last meal?
Timing is key. Make sure to have carbohydrates in the form of a meal or a snack 30min-3hrs before, depending on how your body tolerates food. Typically, if you have 30-45 minutes before your workout, your body will do best with simple carbohydrates like fruit or 1 cup fruit juice. If you have an hour or less before your workout, a general guideline is to have about 1 gram of carbohydrate for every kilogram body weight (divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to determine your weight in kilograms). If you exercise later in the day, your earlier meals and snacks will help to fuel your workout. In this case, make sure your lunch has at least one fist-size amount of carbohydrates. A good example would be to add a slice of whole-wheat bread, quinoa or brown rice to a salad with some beans. You will also want to follow that meal up with a snack if you workout a little later. If you workout at 6pm, try to have a snack at 4pm.
Protein + fat:
In addition to carbs, it's a good idea to consume a little bit of protein before your workout—especially if you are doing weight training. When we exercise (i.e. lift weights), we create small tears in our muscle fibers. Protein helps those muscles heal and grow stronger, which is our ultimate goal. Also, have a little bit of fat before your workout to keep you feeling full and satisfied. Fats and protein take longer to digest, so for those who plan on eating 2-3hours before working out or focusing more on endurance exercises like running or swimming, these macronutrients will help you maintain a gradual increase in blood glucose and therefore, fueling you with good energy at a more steady rate.
Suggestions for a pre-workout Reboot:
- Snack: Our PB chocolate Hangry Bliss Bites - (one bite is ~100 kcals, 15 gm crabs and 4 gm protein)
- Meal: A peanut butter and banana sandwich with whole wheat bread or whole wheat toast with eggs and a side of fruit
- Snack: Greek yogurt with granola and berries
- Meal: Steal cut oatmeal or minimally processed bran based/whole grain cereal with almond milk or low-fat milk and whole fruit
- Meal: Our Whole Wheat Bagel with almond milk cream cheese and lox
- Snack: Fruit smoothie with 1 cup of whole fruit, greek yogurt and ice.
- Meal: salad with quinoa or brown rice and beans or salmon
- Snack: sliced apple with peanut or almond butter
Ask the RD: What does my body need after a Workout?
There are a lot of misleading and confusing messages out there for optimizing nutrition for post-workout. You need to eat after a workout. period. And as we know, one diet does not fit all however, we all need the following nutrients post-workout to rebuild muscle, rehydrate and replenish: carbohydrates, protein, water and electrolytes. In doing so, you will increase performance, improve their appearance, and enable your body to remain injury-free. So, lets break it down -
Generally, post-workout nutrition has three specific purposes:
- Replenish glycogen to replenish your energy stores
- Decrease protein breakdown to increase muscle size and/or muscle quality
- Increase protein synthesis to repair any damage caused by the workout
Protein may get all the attention when it comes to post-workout nutrition but, carbohydrates are equally important for replenishing muscle glycogen. What is glycogen? Glycogen is simply the name for the stored form of glucose, which is the simplest form of sugar. Your body converts all carbohydrates or sugars we eat (whether from broccoli, spinach or a candy bar) into glucose so it can be utilized for energy. Your body stores the majority of its glucose in your muscle tissues as glycogen. Therefore after a workout stored carbohydrates can be substantially depleted. Our goal is to replenish our muscle glycogen to aid in a quick recovery and prevent muscle fatigue.
Secondly, eating protein after a workout is also a must for a speedy muscle recovery. This is particularly important after weight training or if you are new to an exercise regimen and feeling those sore muscles. For intense weight training for long periods of time (45 to 90 minutes) or for athletes, you require extra protein especially if your goal is to build muscle. When we exercise (i.e. lift weights), we create small tears in our muscle fibers. Protein helps those muscles heal and grow stronger, which is our ultimate goal.
The average* man and woman needs roughly 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. The average athlete or high intensity gym goer may need 1-1.2gm protein/kg. However, consuming protein in excess of 2-2.5 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day, like some bodybuilders/gym-goers do, has shown to not be effective. In fact, you end up peeing the excess protein out, truth. Hitting protein recommendations is usually very easy for the average American whether your an omnivore or a vegetarian or even a vegan. This can be accomplished even if you're an athlete with higher protein demands (~1-1.2gm/kg a day). As many people would be surprised, protein is found in many plant-based foods like grains, vegetables, and legumes, nuts, and seeds. Data indicate that it may only take about 20 grams of protein after a workout to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
Water + Electrolytes:
Rehydrating with fluids and repleting you're electrolytes are extremely important after your workout. If you want to nerd out on nutrition like I love to do, you can find out how much fluid is best for you to rehydrate with. Start by weighing yourself before and after exercise and recording it. The general rule for after your workout is to drink 16-ounces of fluid for every pound you have lost. Do this keeping in mind what feels right for your body. Also, use your urine color as a guideline for your overall hydration status. lemonade-colored urine is a sign of appropriate hydration, while dark colored urine (think apple juice), indicates you'll need to drink more water! My favorite natural post-workout drink is coconut water.
Suggestions for post-workout Reboot:
You could certainly eat a whole food meal that meets your nutrient requirements after exercise. However, whole food meals aren’t always practical right after a workout. Also, whole food digests slowly, and we want nutrients to be available quickly to aid in our post-workout recovery. I recommend consuming a liquid form of nutrition that contains rapidly digesting carbohydrates and proteins. This might accelerate recovery by rapid digestion and absorption and is often better tolerated during and after workouts.
Try to eat a snack or a recovery shake as soon as 20 minutes post workout. Then, have a whole food meal within an hour or two. Save your workout drink for weight training, interval, and endurance training lasting 45 minutes or longer. A casual exercise like walking the dog, yard work, or causally riding your bike doesn’t require a recovery drink.
- Post-workout recovery smoothie (see our Reboot + Turnip the Beet smoothie/popsicles recipe - see below)
- Veggie omelet with avocado and ½ cup of roasted potatoes
- Turkey or hummus on a whole-grain wrap or pita sandwich with veggies
- Yogurt with berries
- peanut butter, almond butter on whole wheat toast or hardboiled egg + veggies on whole wheat toast
- 4-ounces of steamed fish with a baked sweet potato and sautéed vegetables
Reboot + Turnip Summer 17 Music Playlist on Spotify
Check out our Summer music playlist for inspiring you to Reboot + Turnip at the gym, work, or in the kitchen! I've compiled all of my favorite BEETS (pun intended) newly released this Summer that gets me UP and MOVIN'! You can download or follow the free Reboot playlist on Spotify and Turnip the way you eat + move + live this Summer too! Tag us @rootsreboot on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter when you're jammin out with us!
Ask the RD: why are beets good for athletic performance?
Beets are very high in dietary nitrates, which in this study has shown to enhance athletic performance and increase blood flow! Increased blood flow to our skeletal muscle during and after exercise means that more nutrients are floating around and are available to our body more quickly. Providing an amino acid (from proteins) and glucose (from carbohydrates) dense blood supply during and after exercise means that the rate of protein synthesis (building muscle) goes up. Also, dietary nitrates, found in beets and green leafy vegetables, improves the efficiency of the little power plants (mitochondria) within our cells, boosting athletic performance by extracting more energy from every breath. Therefore, this improved muscle efficiency allows athletes to exercise at a higher power output or running speed for the same amount of breath.
Reboot + Turnip the BEET Smoothie
Recipe By Dietitian: Taylor Johnson, RD, LDN
Recipe Type: post-workout meal or snack
Dietary restrictions: Gluten Free, Vegetarian | Substitutions: swap out the greek yogurt for silken tofu to make this dairy free and vegan
Add all ingredients into a high speed blender. Combine ingredients until smooth and creamy. Make it a shake or make it a bowl by adding whole food toppings such as: blueberries, kiwi, whole grain cereal, or coconut flakes. Reboot + Enjoy!
- 1/8 raw beet
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 frozen banana
- 3-6oz plain greek yogurt (optional to make into a meal)
- 3 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup coconut water
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR smoothie LEFTOVERS? ...
Popsicle life hack: Save your leftover smoothie(s) by storing it in popsicle molds in the freezor! These turn into the perfect sweet treat or snack to cool down with this summer! make your own by layering different colored smoothies to get a rainbow/unicorn pops. You can also add whole pieces of fruit to add in more fiber. These are not only a healthy, nutrient packed treats but they will save you time, money and food waste!
- Make four mini 'smoothie' to create four different colors for your unicorn popsicle. I combined 1 frozen banana with 1/2 c mango, 1/4-1/2 tsp turmeric and 1/2 cup almond milk (enough liquid to help it blend) to get my bright orange color. I combined 1 frozen banana with 1/8th raw beet, coconut fakes, dash vanilla extracted almond milk to get the bright pink color. I combined 1 frozen banana with spirulina powder, coconut flakes, dash vanilla extract and almond milk to create the green color. Lastly, I combined 1 frozen banana, coconut flakes, vanilla extract and almond milk to make the white color.
- To make a layered rainbow popsicle, freeze each smoothie layer one by one, adding the next color to the popsicle mold once the prior color is frozen (in the freezer for about 3-4hrs). Make sure to add the popsicle stick to the second layer before freezing. Do this for all four and add whole pieces of fruit if you'd like as you go. If you want to swirl the colors together, layer the smoothies while they are still smooth and creamy. Swirl them together using a popsicle stick. Put in the freezer for 3-4 hrs until completely frozen.
- 2 cups Almond milk
- 4 frozen bananas
- 1/2 c frozen mango
- 1/8 raw beet
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp. spirulina powder
- coconut flakes
- coconut extract
- fresh kiwi
- fresh dragon fruit
XO - ROOTS REBOOT
P.S. NEED TO RECHARGE + REFOCUS + RESET YOUR HEALTH?
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