Monday, March 14, 2011

PWO Nutrition

By now, you should be realizing how important the role of nutrition plays in our state of health.  Everything we eat affects us either positively or negatively (try to keep that in mind when choosing your meal).   For athletes that are looking to get that competitive edge, looking to get a PR, or are simply working on getting leaned out or achieving incredible body composition (i.e., lookin' good naked!), eating the right foods takes on a different meaning.
Post workout (pwo) is one of those instances where ones nutrition becomes important - sometimes crucial.  After a hard training session, we want to think about glycogen repletion and also decreasing inflammation that can, often times, accompany a tough workout.

Glycogen?  What is it and why should I care about it?

Glycogen is what supplies us with energy during tough workouts - our central nervous system is truly dependent on it for energy.  If we have plenty of stored glycogen in our liver and muscle tissue, we can actually do twice the work we would be able to do compared to if our glycogen stores are depleted! 
If we have enough glycogen stored, we also recovery quicker and more efficiently than if our glycogen stores are depleted.
Another noteworthy piece of info: About 50% of glycogen can be stored if we consume carbs within a 30 minute window pwo - the window is small, but the rewards are huge!

 (hint: bring something with you to the gym if you know you will be having a tough session, because by the time you are done cooling down and socializing, that window is gone!)

Ok, so what type of pwo food should we be eating ?  A starchy carb rather than a simple carb (pasta, bagels, bread) that is highly nutritious as well. Enter the sweet potato or yam!

There are several different ways to eat this tuber, but this one is my favorite:

Sweet Potato Fries

1 small sweet potato or yam
coconut (melted) or olive oil
seasoning of choice (I like garlic seasoning, some sea salt and smoked paprika - the best!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and cut sweet potato into 1/2" slices (or "fries") and dump in Ziploc bag.  Pour 1-2 tsp oil and seasoning of choice into bag.  Close bag and shake until mixture is spread evenly over sweet potatoes.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tender. 

Have these on hand to eat immediately pwo and your glycogen stores will thank you!

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