The similarity between post-workout maintenance and a lifelong partnership is always relevant. Here at He and She Fitness we like to be candid in how exercise and personal relationships are interlinked, and promote the holistic understanding of both.
Here we are going to look at two of the main areas that are sometimes overlooked post exercise: post-workout nutrition, and our body’s nitrogen balance.
Fitness Is A 168 Hour Per Week Job
That sounds worse than it is. We’re not talking about being on a treadmill while you sleep, only that the nuances of your body's metabolic state, and nutritional requirements post-workout, need to be understood in order for your hard work to pay off.
It’s crucial to understand your body's pre-workout requirements, as well as these post-workout tips. The best way to think about your body after a strenuous exercise session is like a sponge, because it is more receptive to nutritional intake at this point. This is known as the: 'window of opportunity'.
Research has shown that our body reaches a state of hyper insulin sensitivity from the moment you cease exercise – up to and around 90 minutes after the point you stop, depending on your metabolic rate – hence the enormous market for post-workout nutrition products.
Here we recommend consuming a balanced nutritional meal within 45 minutes post exercise, or as we advise the particularly keen: “while you're still sweating”.
The idea is to help your body refuel its carbohydrate levels as soon as possible, ideally with a mixture of carbs and protein – a 2:1 ratio is a good target to aim for – plus additional minerals. Forget having to spend big bucks on this though, your body doesn’t know what a brand is, and would prefer it if you didn’t a drink a pint of synthetic sugar. Learn about the shakes you can make from organic ingredients, as well as those we sometimes buy pre-made for convenience.
In this window of time, your body is literally screaming out to replenish its energy stores, so be sure not to ignore it!
The good news is that along with this period post-workout, your body is also hyper efficient at processing the nutrients you consume, as if someone has roused an entire factory to work harder for a limited amount of time.
Keep Your Body Positive
This is meant in a scientific sense. Our aim is to make sure that our body has a positive nitrogen balance as often as possible.
When our cells are in an overall positive state, they help promote anabolic properties, such as muscle repair and growth. When our body has an overall negative cellular nitrogen state, it is more likely to become catabolic, which is where malnourishment and muscle wasting occurs.
If you’ve ever woken up particularly hungry, or felt the need for sugar after a night of consuming large amounts of alcohol; this is also a time when your body has a negative nitrogen balance. Both here, and after a bout of strenuous exercise, your body is trying to regain homeostasis.
A good rule of thumb is that anytime you feel fatigue, this is your body’s way of telling you that you may have a negative nitrogen balance. Understanding the way in which nitrogen affects your development will pay dividends in the short term as well as the long.
Again, the overall message being that exercise enthusiasts – regardless of what level you’re at – have to understand that post-workout habits are equally as important as what happens inside the exercise session itself.