CrossFit Forestites, you are witnessing history, this is my first ever blog. Kara and I will be posting here occasionally with nutrition as our primary focus. There are plenty of fantastic blogs/websites out there with paleo friendly recipes, so we will try not to replicate that here. These posts will focus more on implementing nutrition, specifically paleo friendly nutrition, in our everyday lives.
With that, the subject for my first post will be Post Workout Nutrition. Many people have many different ideas when it comes to Post WOD nutrition and my views continue to evolve as I deepen my nutritional knowledge base. I will keep this first post very simple, and if you have questions please email me at Matt@crossfitforest.com . Post WOD is the most important time to eat. There is a 30 minute window following intense exrcise where your metabolism and insulin levels are spiked and taking advantage of this will improve recovery time. In plain English, that means your body will absorb the most nutrients in the first 30 minutes and you will get bigger, faster, stronger, and be less sore. Yes, I know when you cannot even stand up and vision is blurry at the end of a workout the last thing you feel like doing is eating, but I promise it is worth it. It is imperative to take in both Carbohydrates and Protein during this time. The amount of each nutrient depends on your size and body composition. A 200 lb male with less than 8% bodyfat needs to consume 25-40 grams of protein and 35-50 grams carbohydrate depending on the workout’s intensity. A 175 lb female with over 35% bodyfat needs 10-15 grams protein and 15-20 grams carbohydrate. These examples represent opposite ends of the spectrum, figure out where you are in there and adjust accordingly. Do not lose sleep over exact quantities, get some protein, get some carbs, and you will be good.. Now that we know how much to eat, the next question is what to eat. Based on a lot of personal trial and error and research, here is what I feel are the best Post WOD options:
1. Sweet Potatoes and Meat/eggs-By far the best for you, nothing can beat the glucose from sweet potatoes. They replace glycogen stores throughout the body and taste fantastic. Whether you are lean and seeking performance gains or improving body composiiton and looking good naked are your goals, this choice will get you there.
2. Fruit and Meat- Fruit is a good second choice if sweet potatoes are not available. It only contains fructose, which is not as good for you as glucose, but it tastes good and has some great benefits.
3. Protein powder mixed with coconut water or into a fruit smoothie- If you are lean and seeking increased performance, this is a good choice. If body composition is your goal, this is NOT the choice for you. Liquid food spikes your insulin and can contribute to fat storage.
4. Milk/Chocolate Milk- Not paleo, however dairy spikes insulin levels and has some great muscle building properties. It is cost effective and readily available. If you go this route, use whole milk. Again, if body composition is your goal, this is NOT the choice for you.
5. Protein Bars- Definitely not paleo, however these are the most convenient of all options. Unfortunately, they usually have some sugar and a lot of chemicals and synthetic ingredients.
If you remember nothing else form this post, remember eat within 30 minutes of working out and get both protein and carbs. I want to finish this post by sharing my sweet potato experience. My quest to make the Sweet Potato palatable was long. For as long as I can remember I simply did not like the damn things. It did not matter if my mother put marsh mellows on them at Thanksgiving, I still did not like them. The more I learned how good they were for you though, the more I became determined to find a way to eat them. As the video below shows, my now preferred way is to mash them up and mix with peppers, onions, mushrooms, coconut oil, and cinamon. Sausage and bacon can also be added to make them even more delicious.
Keep working hard in the gym Crossfit Forestites and remember you will get way more benefit by properly replacing all the nutrients you burn.