When you exercise, your body burns through any energy that is available. This energy comes in the form of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Because of this, it is important to refuel, also known as “recovery nutrition”. We spoke with Allison Maurer, Director of Sports Nutrition and Fueling with the Pittsburgh Pirates, to learn more about why plant protein is a great option to refuel after exercise.
Running on Empty
During a hard workout, your body becomes depleted. Specifically, your muscles. Your muscles use carbohydrates during exercise for energy. In addition to that, while you exercise, there is muscle damage that is done, which is necessary for muscle growth. With long, hard workouts and competitions, your muscles use a greater amount of energy. So when the workout is over, your body is essentially depleted of important carbohydrates, protein and other nutrients.
Time to Refuel
When you finish exercise, you should refuel with a snack within 30 – 45 minutes. This is called recovery nutrition. The goal of recovery nutrition is to replenish carbohydrate stores and stimulate muscle protein synthesis. It is also important during this time to focus on hydration and replenish electrolytes that were lost while sweating.
Why Plant Protein
Plant protein provides essential amino acids to help you recovery effectively from exercise. Plant protein inhibits muscle breakdown and stimulates muscle protein synthesis to aid your recovery. Plant based protein sources also provide beneficial amounts of fiber to support gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health and may also provide a number of other phytonutrients that may assist in fighting certain diseases. Whether you are following a plant-based diet or just want to change up your protein options from time to time, plant proteins can be a great option for anyone, .
How do carbohydrates fit into recovery?
Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for your body—meaning your muscles and brain function by using carbohydrates all day. They are especially important before, during, and after a workout. That’s why Honey Stinger put honey-powered carbohydrates in everything they make. Honey is a fast-acting carbohydrate, meaning your body can use the carbohydrates from honey very quickly and efficiently during and after exercise.
Why Recovery Matters for You
Recovery is a game changer. In a perfect situation, you should have 24-hours to fully recover in between bouts of exercise. For many athletes, this is not feasible as they may have more than one workout in a day. That makes recovery nutrition even more vital. An easy way to think about it is this: “Put back in what you took out.” Right after exercise, your body is in a prime position to absorb and take in any and all nutrition that you give it. Your cells are most receptive during this time so replenishing with carbohydrates, protein and fluids needs to be of prime importance.
Recovery nutrition not only helps after exercise but it also helps prevent hunger later in the day. If you don’t recover properly, you may have cravings or snack on high fat and high sugar foods later in the day. Honey Stinger Organic Cracker Bar with Plant Protein is a perfect option for recovery fuel. With 10 grams of pea protein and 27 grams of carbohydrates, it will provide you with the right combination to replenish carbohydrate stores and promote muscle protein synthesis.
Bottom line, take care of yourself! In order to have the best performance possible, focus on fueling. Plant proteins, carbohydrates, fluids and recovery nutrition in general can make a huge impact on how you feel today and how you feel tomorrow when you get ready for your next workout. Fuel Up!