Eating properly after you exercise is vital to making sure you recover properly after expending a lot of effort. Hydration, nutrition... check out our simple rules for recovering properly after exercise and ensuring you continue to progress.

Pleasure after pain: It's a well-known adage, but as you can guess, pleasure doesn't mean eating whatever you want, how you want and when you want, especially when it comes to eating after you exercise. And for those of you who think that it all seems very restrictive, think again, because there's nothing like information for doing away with any perceived restrictions. In fact, the more you learn about post-exercise nutrition, the more chance you have of meeting your needs and enjoying yourself at the same time.

To help us with this stimulating challenge, we asked sports dietitian Fabrice Jeandesboz to shed some light on the subject. If his name rings a bell, that's because Fabrice was a professional cyclist and rode the Tour de France three times before moving into the health industry. You'll see why we called on his services.His valuable knowledge and experience mean he's well qualified to give us the best advice and allow us to apply it the best we can. Let's get started!

Sports Nutrition | Six Golden Rules For Eating After You Exercise


If your session was short, you ate not so long ago and your next meal is in a few hours, then you should be able to do without a snack. If, however, you feel the need to enjoy a cereal bar, fruit or yoghurt, don't deprive yourself.Your appetite depends on your recent training history and parameters such as how tired you're feeling.So it's likely that you'll feel hungrier when you're training intensively, which is completely normal. You should definitely be taking on a lot of fluids after your sessions, and even before and during, no matter what sport or exercise you're doing.Finally, if you finish training just before you're due to have your next meal, you can eat it as planned.

Sports Nutrition | Six Golden Rules For Eating After You Exercise


“Eating after you've been exercising is a crucial part of the recovery process,” says Fabrice Jeandesboz. It's a question of restoring your energy levels by taking on board nutrients that aid the recovery and development of your muscles and help keep them in shape.

Aside from the part it plays in recovery, eating after you exercise is also important on a psychological level. You may have heard some people come out with the mantra "run more to eat more". When part of a healthy relationship between sport and nutrition, it's a mantra that cannot be denied. And all for a very good reason. After all, what's more satisfying than a good meal after a demanding training session, match or competition? Obviously it's not about compensating for any frustration you might feel by eating, but just enjoying something that's comforting, not least because the physical and psychological benefits of food can be felt in the short, medium and long term.

Nor can we stress enough the importance of listening to your body and any sense of hunger or fullness you might feel. They are reliable indicators and you need to pay close attention to them. Only you know how to keep your body and mind happy. “Take your time when you eat. Avoid your phone, tablet and the TV while you're eating, as they're a distraction and might prevent you from picking up any signs of feeling full, which take about 20 minutes to arrive."

Sports Nutrition | Six Golden Rules For Eating After You Exercise


“The 'cell door' is wide open in the first 30 minutes after physical activity. It's a time period known as the metabolic window," explains our dietitian/nutritionist."It is the most opportune time for rebuilding our glycogen stores, which can be found in our muscles and liver and which is where the body mainly draws its energy from during exercise."

To rebuild them go for food with a high glycaemic index (fruit juices and purees, bananas, cereal bars, etc.), as your body stores the glycogen from these foods more quickly than from others. Fabrice also recommends drinking plenty of water with high levels of bicarbonates (mixed with a drop of grape juice) to rebalance the body's pH levels and suppress the free radicals created by oxygenation.

Sports Nutrition | Six Golden Rules For Eating After You Exercise


You can probably guess that the answer is YES! ;) “After physical effort, the ideal thing is to drink half a litre of bicarbonate-rich water mixed with a little grape juice, which is rich in antioxidants," recommends Fabrice. “

To give you an idea of the amount of water you need to drink after exercising, you should weigh yourself before and after: the difference in weight is the water you've lost through sweating. So, you should aim to regain one and a half times the difference between these two weights by the end of the day."

When you're exercising, we recommend you drink at least half a litre of water per hour, or more if it's hot. It's essential also that you drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day, outside any exercise you do. The hotter it is, the more you need to drink, whether before, during or after sport, and even when you're not doing any sport at all.

Now you have all the information you need to knock up a post-exercise meal that meets your needs, objectives and desires and is healthy to boot. Although nutrition is a science that is easy enough to understand if you take enough of an interest in it, that doesn't mean to say it doesn't offer variety. There are endless combinations that can satisfy your body and taste buds, without you having to put a huge amount of effort into your cooking.So what are you waiting for to get stuck in?

Sports Nutrition | Six Golden Rules For Eating After You Exercise



Daughter and sister from a family of cycling enthusiasts. Trail rider* raised in the outdoors to love sport. Bitten by the ultra* bug. Marathon runner and French Junior Champion 2013 of the 10,000 metres in racewalking. Deeply inspired by sports and athletes.

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