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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Decision for post-workout snack is important

Joe Marchilena

We all have our routines, even when we go to the gym.

Whether it’s a workout or I’m on the stair machine or I’m out running, I always finish up my exercise by stretching. In the past, it was because I always worried about pulling something. These days, though, stretching makes it that much easier to get out of bed the next morning. ...

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We all have our routines, even when we go to the gym.

Whether it’s a workout or I’m on the stair machine or I’m out running, I always finish up my exercise by stretching. In the past, it was because I always worried about pulling something. These days, though, stretching makes it that much easier to get out of bed the next morning.

“For post workout, I recommend something restorative, like a light swim or stretch,” said Shelby Young, one of the personal trainers at Hampshire Hills. “Studies have shown that exposing the body to an external heat source after strength training can help increase protein synthesis and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.”

When I do a post-workout stretch, I focus on my hamstrings, hip flexors and back, because those are troublesome areas for me. More recently, I’ve jumped on the treadmill for a short walk.

You can try the same, but you’ll likely need, or want, to do something different.

When I’m at Hampshire Hills for my workout, and I’m done making myself presentable, I’ll sometimes stop in at the cafe and have lunch. But what else should I – and you – be doing? And what specifically should we be eating?

Is there a certain food that’s better for you right after your workout? And I mean actual food, not any post-workout supplements.

Remember those commercials where Brady Quinn, or some other next-to-no-name athlete, is chugging something in a carton, and when he finishes he announces to everyone watching that now he’s done? I don’t mean those.

As for a post-workout snack or meal, Young said that no matter what your workout, you’ll “benefit from a dense protein source to help rebuild muscle tissue.”

If it’s a steady-state cardio workout, look for healthy fat sources. Young mentions coconuts, avocado, grass fed butter and fats, and nuts, except for peanuts. If you’ve done a high-intensity activity, Young said go for a healthy starch, like “yams, potatoes or squash to refill muscle glycogen stores.”

And no matter what you’re doing, remember to drink plenty of water.

Joe Marchilena writes a weekly fitness column for Hampshire Hills. To find out more information about the “90 Day Commit to Get Fit” program, call 603-673-7123 or e-mail hhinfo@hampshirehills.com.