Post-workout Carb Loading

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I’m running a half marathon tomorrow. In preparation, I’ve been doing a bit more reading on exercise nutrition and came across a good reminder for runners. This applies whether you are training for an event or just run regularly.

We all know you carb load in the days before a big event. But you should also have a mini carb loading session after any good endurance workout, especially if it is an hour or longer. Try to consume about half a gram of carbs per pound of body weight, and aim for a carb/protein ratio of 4:1.

So, a 150 pound person should eat about 75 grams of carbs and 18-20 grams of protein. That looks like 2 cups of chocolate milk, 1 slice of whole wheat toast, and a banana. Or a turkey sandwich with cheese, an apple, and a granola bar.

Timing is very important here. Your recovery meal, as this is sometimes called, should be consumed within an hour of your workout. Right after exercising, your body is primed to store glycogen in your muscles. By loading your muscles with glycogen, you can decrease post-workout soreness and improve endurance in workouts to come.

Getting a recovery meal or snack after even a shorter workout is important, but you don’t need to focus on consuming such a large quantity of carbs. Just getting some sort of carb snack in within an hour of working out should be sufficient.

Happy eating and exercising!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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