Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Post Workout Protein Snacks

Spring is here and the Pumpkin Rose Farm crew is once again transitioning from indoor farmers to outdoor farmers, which means the farmer's market will be open again soon!

Although planting season just began, there is no one set season for working out. Every month of the year falls during "workout season." Personally, I have a hard time working out when I'm cold (which has been almost all of the time), but if I can get myself through the first few minutes, then I warm up and am just fine. I guess that's why they call it a warm up!

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is post-workout nutrition. Proper nutrition is a very important thing to me and it should not be thrown by the wayside after working out. So, what should we be eating after physical activity?

There is no "one size fits all" approach (with anything, really).

Training hard requires eating right for recovery. If you are a serious athlete, you probably already know what to eat.

If you're one of the rest of the workouters, you may not need to eat after a workout. The necessity of eating after exercise depends on the intensity and frequency of the activity.
Less often or less intense =  eating after not necessary

However, after activity, some of us turn into voracious creatures who are only concerned with EATING ALL THE THINGS. I once polished off a Quarter Pounder meal after a swim lesson and I was only 9 or 10 years old.
If you do need to eat after working out, my advice is to wait a little while. Stress turns off the digestion process and physical activity is a form of stress, so you'll want to give your body some time to realize that it can start digesting food again.

Protein after exercise is a good idea because protein is made of amino acids amino acids will aid in muscle repair. You can find the 9 "essential amino acids"--i.e., amino acids that our bodies don't produce--in complete proteins, which are mostly proteins from animal sources. Plant proteins are mostly considered to be incomplete proteins, which proteins require pairing with complementary proteins so that all essential amino acids are present.

Carbohydrates are also a good thing to add to any post-workout snack or meal. Carbs cab replenish muscular glycogen stores that might have gotten used up during exercise. Not all exercise taps into glycogen stores--you're more likely to see glycogen depletion with high intensity interval training (HIIT) or endurance activities, or even some serious farm work. Been there, done that. 
If you have used up glycogen, a good carb choice would be a starchy fruit/vegetable (sweet potato, white potato, plantain) or possibly oatmeal.

Sometimes, it isn't possible to eat a snack made up of meat and vegetables. That's when we look to more convenient options, like protein shakes, protein bars, etc.

. has some great pages about healthy snacks and high protein snacks. They have great info and some delicious-looking recipes, in addition to being a source from which to buy nuts and similar items. Check it out!

Happy snacking! Do you have any post-workout snack tips or recipes? I'd love to hear them!