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Post-Workout Nutrients YOU CAN’T AFFORD to Skip

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Regular exercise is essential for a healthy life. But it doesn’t end with just working out. Being mindful of your post-workout nutrition can maximize its benefits.

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People who regularly exercise often opt for protein-rich foods. Even those who don’t exercise have probably heard that “without protein, muscle loss occurs,” which is true. Protein, one of the three main nutrients our bodies need, is essential for muscle growth. No matter how much you exercise, insufficient protein can stunt muscle growth.

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The notion protein must be immediately consumed after exercise is a misconception. Simply meeting your daily intake throughout the day after exercising won’t significantly hinder muscle growth.

However, there are other essential nutrients often overlooked post-exercise: water and carbohydrates.

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Water is immediately depleted when you exercise and sweat. You must replenish your body right away to prevent dehydration and other bodily strains.

Muscles consist of protein and water. Even with enough protein intake, inadequate water consumption will not only hinder muscle growth but will also disrupt the recovery process.

Consuming carbohydrates promptly after exercise is crucial. Carbohydrates contain glucose, the main ingredient of glycogen. When water enters the body, it doesn’t remain as a liquid in the muscles but rather combines with glucose to form glycogen. Glycogen is created by breaking down carbohydrates and is a mixture of glucose and water.

When trying to stay healthy, you should not only focus on protein but also consume glucose or carbohydrates, which are the ingredients for replenishing glycogen after exercising. The rate of glycogen resynthesis drops by up to 50% if carbohydrates are not consumed within two hours after exercising.

To quickly recover the depleted glycogen, it’s best to consume carbohydrates as quickly as possible after exercising.

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You should refrain from consuming refined carbohydrates like bread or snacks and instead go for complex carbohydrates like potatoes and brown rice. It’s recommended to consume about 0.45~0.68g per pound. In simpler terms, if you weigh 176 lbs, you should consume around 2.8~4.2 oz of carbohydrates after exercising. Furthermore, consuming protein at a 3:1 ratio with carbohydrates (around 0.9~1.4 oz) can effectively resynthesize glycogen.

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