Refueling after your WOD

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Another way to maximize your gains during quarantine is to properly refuel! Within 1-2 hours of working out, prepare yourself a meal or large snack. Focus on eating carbohydrates and protein. The carbohydrates you eat will help replace the glycogen (a.k.a. your body’s glucose storage and a key energy source) that your muscles just used up. The amino acids from protein will help your muscles repair and slow down further breakdown after your workout. Both nutrients are key to helping you adapt, so you can crush the next WOD. How much you need to refuel will depend on your body weight and how hard you worked.

You might be wondering, “Why do I need to refuel ASAP after my WOD?” Research is still mixed about the anabolic window, a.k.a. the theory that there is a “window” of opportunity to maximize muscle growth after exercise via post-exercise nutrition. Whether the anabolic window “applies” depends on a lot of factors. HOWEVER, referring back to our previous blog post, our bodies are CONSTANTLY using protein for all kinds of functions (not just muscle growth). Protein is digested about 5 – 10 g per hour, depending on the type. So if you ate a meal with 20 g of protein 4 hours before your WOD, that dietary protein has already been digested and went into circulation. If your body hits a negative protein balance, then it will start breaking down your organ and muscle tissues to get the proteins it needs to function. Bottomline, if you have just worked out and it has been several hours since you ate, you need to refuel ASAP if you want to keep your gains.

To figure out your post WOD intake, follow two steps.

  1. Figure out your weight in kilograms. To calculate your bodyweight in kilograms: take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2. For example, a person who weighs 150 pounds weighs 68 kg (150 pounds / 2.2 = 68 kg).
  2. Ask yourself, “How hard did I work?”. Be honest! Listen to your body. Then, plan your meal based on these guidelines.

Notice that you need more carbs than protein. During quarantine, most of us will be doing light or moderate WODs. And that is okay! Continue to move and eat well when you can, and you can still stay healthy, strong, and fit.

References

Aragon, A. A., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2013). Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-5

Renaissance Periodization. (N.D.) Product Guide. https://renaissanceperiodization.com/set-goal/first-step

Thomas, T. PhD, RDN, CSSD, Erdman, K.A. MSc, RD, CSSD, Burke, L.M. OAM, PhD, APD, FACSM. (2017). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(3), 501-528. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.12.006