Post-workout Meals and Fruit

As many people already know, the post-workout meal is one that is extremely important for seeing results from your workout program.

This is the point where the muscles are going to be primed for taking in nutrients and using them for both repairing the muscle tissue, as well as replenishing the muscle storage for energy. If you aren’t eating during this time, you’re going to severely hinder your recovery ability, and thus not see the results you’re hoping for from your workout.

Even if you’re main goal is weight loss, you still must be eating during this time. As long as you plan your post-workout meal along with the rest of your diet, it will not impact your ability to lose weight.

One common mistake that many people make with their post-workout meal is reaching for fruit.

How many times have you heard about the importance of including fruit and vegetables in the diet?

Likely too many times to count.

While this is definitely true - you should be consuming plenty of fruit and especially vegetables in your diet, there is a time and place for everything.

Post-workout is not it.

Essentially, it works like this.

In the body, there are three major areas for carbohydrates to be stored.

Storage House #1 - The Muscle Tissue

Immediately after a workout, your muscle tissue’s storage for carbohydrates will be reduced due to the fact that you’ve just used much of the muscle glycogen (storage form of carbohydrates) to fuel that workout.

Typically speaking, the more carbohydrates you eat in your daily diet, the more this storage will be maxed out.

Storage House #2 - The Liver

The next place where the body can store carbohydrates is in the liver tissue. This is most commonly referred to as ‘liver glycogen’.

BUT, the important thing to note is that liver glycogen storage caps off at about 50 grams of carbohydrates. Anything transported to this area above this point will then be converted to body fat.

Also important to note is that it will be carbohydrates coming from fructose that go into liver storage - not carbohydrates coming from starch - those go to the muscles instead. Furthermore, liver storage will not fuel the muscles during exercise.

Storage House #3 - The Fat Cells

Finally, the last storage house for carbohydrates is your fat cells. If you eat more in a day than you need and both the former storage houses are full, excess will be converted to fat and stored in the fat cells.

So where does fruit fit into the picture?

Looking at these storage houses now, obviously it is going to be most beneficial to focus on the muscle storage house immediately after your workout since this is what gives your muscles fuel to workout.

Fruit, because it contains about 50% glucose and 50% fructose, will be diverted to both the muscle cells (the glucose portion of it) and the liver cells (the fructose portion of it).

Therefore, when you eat a piece of fruit, you’ll really only be able to utilize half of the carbohydrates for filling up those muscle energy stores - and what is needed to help you maintain your intense workouts.

Not optimal.

While there are definitely worse things you could be eating during your post-workout meal - or not eating at all, fruit is not the absolute best thing to be eating.

Instead, it would be smarter to eat carbohydrate sources that are 100% glucose or starch (which then get broken down into glucose).

This will help ensure that all of those carbohydrates get sucked up into the muscle cells where they are needed.

So, next time you’re putting together your post-workout meal, save fruit for another time in the day and opt for another choice instead.

Good selections include things such as sugary cereal, white rice, oatmeal, white bread, dextrose, and white potatoes.