After you lace up and run eight miles on an early Saturday morning or conquer a new personal best overhead press at the gym, you’re going to feel different. While you’ll likely walk away from both victories with an Instagram-worthy accomplishment, your body gets taxed by cardio and strength workouts in entirely different ways. Which means that, just like you have to come prepared for a big meeting with your boss, you’ve gotta have your post-sweat nutrition game on lock.
Generally, post-workout nutrition has three purposes: increase protein synthesis—which helps to repair muscle stress resulting from exercise, decrease the breakdown of proteins, and replenish energy (glycogen) stores. The good news? When you consume the right things post-sweat, protein synthesis can be stimulated more easily, according to research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
So what’s the right fuel? First, let’s differentiate between the type of athletes we’re working with. Endurance athletes love a long run come the weekend. They typically log cardio activities for hour(s) at a time (think bike rides, jogs, swimming, even Spin class) that focus on upping the heart rate aerobically. Whereas strength-focused athletes are prone to toting around chalk, wrist wraps, and muscle rub in their gym bag, no stranger to the barbell, and are all about that short-term burst of energy to produce max gains.
Whether you’re channeling your inner Eliud Kipchoge or are leaning more toward the Rich Froning side of things, both endurance and strength athletes require protein and carbohydrates post-workout—albeit different amounts. “The longer the workout, the greater our need for carbohydrates can be,” says Dr. Mike Roussell, Ph.D. and nutrition consultant. “This can be consumed directly after workout or in the meals after you train.” Endurance athletes need more carbohydrates to support longer exercise bouts. So here’s a benchmark: shoot for a 4:1 carbohydrate to ratio for endurance athletes (10 to 15 grams protein), suggests Jonathan Valdez, Owner of Genki Nutrition and spokesperson for New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For strength athletes, your ratio should be closer to 2:1, he says (20 to 30 grams protein).
But what about as a daily benchmark? “Endurance athletes should aim to refuel at about 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight [Studies also suggest they should aim for .8 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight],” suggests Jonathan Valdez, Owner of Genki Nutrition and spokesperson for New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “For strength training and building muscles, it is around 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Depending on your intensity of workout carbohydrate intake can vary.” (For a 170-pound guy, thats between 108 grams—cardio—and 154 grams—strength—each day.)
Remember: Things won’t always go flawlessly with your fitness nutrition—and that’s OK. Do the best you can with what you have, and always have reserves with you when you’re on the move. Not sure where to start? Revere’s two unique post-workouts tap into powerful natural ingredients to give your body what it needs to recover after grueling workouts, so you can come back stronger, fitter, and faster next time.