Is a Post-Workout Recovery Even Necessary?

Good Morning & Happy Monday!

I just got back from a weekend in New Jersey and I can’t wait to share that trip with you soon. I know it’s recap Monday, but today’s post is an important one. I’ve learned so much during the past seven years of my fitness journey. I’ve learned what works for me, and what doesn’t. I’ve learned what to do and what to definitely NOT do. One of the questions I get asked the most is “should I have a post-workout recovery snack?”, or “doesn’t a post-workout recovery snack cancel out the workout and calories burned?” And don’t worry if you’re also wondering because I used to think the same things. We aren’t born knowing everything; learning is a process. I want to thank Core Power® for sponsoring this post, and I’m excited to share some awesome things that your body does after a workout, and why it’s almost crucial to fuel up after a sweat fest.
Let’s start with the calorie thing. It’s a no-brainer that if you are consuming too many calories and not burning enough calories that your weight could escalate. (That most certainly happens to me.) That is why timing is everything. Your body burns a certain amount of calories throughout the day, even if you’re sitting on the couch. This is called your BMR (basal metabolic rate.) Your basal metabolic rate is the energy used to keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing, and what keeps your entire body functioning. This is why calories are so important, even if you are not active.

Why do calories matter after a workout? Well, the right calories matter. Carbs, Fat, Sugar, Protein; they all make up calories. Not all calories are equal when it comes to repairing and fueling the body before and after a workout. Each calorie has their own superpower, but you have to know when to use it. Choosing the right calories after a workout can help you see results and keep your body functioning properly. Skipping out on a post-workout recovery can be dangerous and actually put a stall on results.
Glycogen levels become low after a workout. If you do not fuel yourself back up (with the proper calories), you could decrease your muscle protein synthesis, and your muscle protein could break down and cause severe soreness. That’ll keep you from hitting the gym consistently. If I workout an hour+ and do not eat a post-workout, I start to fill lightheaded, weak, and tired. It also makes me super hungry later in the evening. It’s important to give your body what it needs when it needs it.

What helps repair muscles and restore your glycogen levels? Carbs & Protein.

Fast-digesting carbs can help prevent your body from using its muscle tissue as energy. It also helps repair and build muscle. The biggest superhero calorie? Protein. Protein will help you repair and build muscle as well. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be, which increases your BMR. Increasing your BMR helps with weight loss. Building muscle also helps you burn more fat. If you don’t like to eat a ton of carbs, just remember, “timing.” Eat your carbs when your body needs it the most. You don’t have to eat carbs all day long to see results, but eat them after a workout. I try to eat low carb throughout the day, but as soon as I leave the gym, I down at least 25g of carbs and 25g of protein within fifteen minutes after a workout.

Back when I was training for my half marathon, I would be weak, lightheaded, and empty in my fuel tank. I always kept a post workout at my ending point. I made sure my post workout had high protein and high carb. Numbers tend to scare people too much when it comes to a post-workout, but that is not what causes weight gain. It’s what you eat later that night, or earlier that day when you don’t need it. If I were to finish my night with cake and ice cream because “I deserved it after a long run,” then yes, that’ll be an issue for my waistline. But, eat what your body needs when you need it. Timing timing timing! Also, I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat cake. If you want cake, eat cake! 
Sometimes getting a post-workout can be difficult if we don’t have time. Food can be an excellent source, but it’s not always convenient. While I was training hard for my race, I was introduced to Core Power®. Core Power® is a quality milk-based protein recovery drink. I was having some issues with feeling weak, lightheaded, and just empty on mile ten. It wasn’t dehydration because I always drank water and kept my potassium/sodium levels high. My doctor recommended that I kept a quick fuel, like Core Power®, near mile seven (literally hid it in the bushes) to keep my glycogen levels up. I was having a big issue with storage. I would drink some at mile seven and finish the bottle post-run. It made all the difference in my performance. Core Power® really helps replenish and revitalize the body by building lean muscle and providing the proper energy (calories) to fuel my workouts. There are 26g of high-quality complete protein, the perfect amount for refueling. Core Power® takes away the stress of trying to find a quick post-workout fuel. You can take it anywhere! I love throwing it in my gym bag and heading out. 
And because it’s Fall, I wanted to share a delicious post-workout shake that I made after my run and HIIT workout a couple of days ago. My fitness watch said I burned over 950 calories, and I was feeling it. It was time to replenish! I love that all of the protein in Core Power® comes from milk itself. You won’t find any added protein powders. It doesn’t have a grainy or chalky texture. It tastes like pure creamy and vanilla milk. Each bottle of Core Power® contains the two types of naturally occurring protein found in milk: whey (20%) and casein (80%).

Pumpkin Vanilla Core Power® Post-Workout Recovery Shake: 1/2 Frozen Banana, 1 Bottle Vanilla Core Power®, 1/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree, & 1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Spice! 
Blend for ten seconds on medium-high! Pour into a glass and sprinkle pumpkin spice on top. 
This post-workout tastes like dessert. If you make this before your workout, place it in the freezer, it’s like an ice cream treat by the time you get back! You could use any flavor of Core Power®for this recipe. I am going to try blending the banana with frozen strawberries next. 
My boyfriend and I play tennis four times a week, sometimes twice a day. We always bring Core Power® with us in the cooler and split a bottle on the way home. We both get grouchy when we are hungry because of low glycogen levels, so this helps the “hanger.” Do any of you get grouchy when you’re hungry?

I love sharing about health and fitness, but please remember that all bodies are different. You should always consult with your doctor before making any changes!
Core Power® can be found in a ton of convenience and grocery chains across the country. My favorite gas stations even carry it. You can also purchase full cases on Amazon (click here.) It comes in Chocolate, Banana, Strawberry Banana, and Vanilla!

Don’t forget to check out my Core Power® post from last month, and scroll to the bottom of that page to find out who won the Core Power® GIVEAWAY! Click here.
Questions for you!

 

  1. Do you make sure to squeeze in your post-workout?
  2. What Fall fitness goals are you working towards?
  3. Have you ever tried Core Power®? If so, what flavor is your favorite?

Comments

  • Kim

    The hanger is real after a workout! I workout in the mornings (it fits best with my schedule) so my breakfast is eggs, cheese and veggie protein. The veggie protein has some carbs but your post is making me rethink when I have my protein shake, which is typically in the afternoon…

    I love Core Power – Chocolate is my favorite 🙂

    I don’t have specific workout goals this fall, other than to continue working out and not get burnt out.

    Thanks for sharing this information! I hope you’ll do posts like this as you continue your personal training certification!

    Reply to Kim
  • Sheila

    Great Post 🙂

    Reply to Sheila
  • Eliza

    Core Power looks like a wonderful Post Workout!

    Reply to Eliza
  • Paige

    I still need to try out Core Power. Glad you wrote this post!

    Reply to Paige
  • Emily

    Great idea adding in the pumpkin!

    Reply to Emily
  • Margie

    I drank Core Power after my half marathon and I felt so good afterward. I need to start planting it at my weak points on my long runs. Great idea!

    Reply to Margie
  • Chasidy

    Will you be running any races this year?

    Reply to Chasidy
  • Mary

    My friends think I’m nuts when I take a post-workout! I’m sending this to them. Thanks, Taralynn!

    Reply to Mary
  • Alex

    Hi Taralynn! Just wondering if these would need to be refrigerated? I’d love to take it along to drink after my barre classes but it would be sitting for a while. Thanks!

    Reply to Alex
  • Larry

    Core Power is one of my favorite post-workout drinks. I found it at the airport a couple days ago!

    Reply to Larry
  • Emily

    Off topic, but can you please post about how you trained Grumples recently? I saw it on your insta story! We’re struggling with our pup and could use an inspirational story!

    Reply to Emily
  • nicole @ bento momentos

    Haven’t tried Core Power but I do notice I feel weaker during work outs but don’t abide by the eat-within-15-minutes mantra… I’m never hungry at the time. I’m going to try your advice and see if that helps. Does it have whey/dairy? Happy Tuesday!

    Reply to nicole @ bento momentos
    • Taralynn McNitt

      It does have dairy! 🙂 All the protein comes from milk. It doesn’t have any added protein powders.

      I’m never hungry after a workout, but hungrier WAY LATER in the night if I do not replenish.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Hannah

    Great post! I have a hard time finding a quick post-workout to bring with me after work. I’ll have to check out Core Power.

    Reply to Hannah
  • Allie

    I love Core Power!

    Reply to Allie
  • Vanessa

    Do you make sure to squeeze in your post-workout?
    I try to always have some soy joghurt after my workout, or just eat a light dinner after I am done.

    What Fall fitness goals are you working towards?
    I want to maintain my health and fitness throughout this crazily busy fall, to make sure I continue to feel energized and active.

    Reply to Vanessa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Getting dinner after a workout is perfect for “timing” things!

      That energy is always helpful when it starts to get darker at night! I find that long walks always help 🙂

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Emily

    I am so glad you wrote this! I’ve been wondering what to eat or if I should eat after a workout and you are totally correct about feeling hungry later in the evening. I didn’t even think about eating afterward. I am going to start bringing a Core Power and see if it helps me with late cravings.

    My fall goals are to lose about fifteen pounds by January. Your blog has been a big help!

    Thank you

    Reply to Emily
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Great goals!:)

      Yes, I always get late night cravings if I’m not fueling properly throughout the day! A high-protein breakfast helps me later in the day too!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    What a useful post, Taralynn! Love all the bright and colourful visuals too!
    Have a nice day! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Daisy

    The chocolate is my favorite! I take it to class with me after my morning workouts.

    Reply to Daisy
  • Linda @ the Fitty

    I generally am not worried about consuming anything post workout. My body is fueled on ketones so that I don’t burn out my muscles if I don’t replenish my glycogen stores 🙂

    Reply to Linda @ the Fitty
  • Susie @ Mile High Dreamers

    I NEVER used to think about post-workout recovery when I was younger. But then once I started dating Ben (a gazillion years ago), he really emphasized how important it is to replenish your protein stores after you tear muscle fibers to repair them and grow your muscles. Now I ALWAYS make sure to at least get a protein shake in after I workout and I’ve seen a HUGE difference in my results!

    That pumpkin shake looks AMAZING! I’ve always got an awkward amount of pumpkin leftover after making pancakes, and this is the perfect way to use it!

    My fitness goal is to really push myself to get more veggies in, and see how much more progress I see if I’m truly dedicated to a good diet AND consistent workouts! I feel like fall is a great re-set time, and I’m amped up to challenge myself to eat veggies at EVERY meal.

    Vanilla is always my go to flavor!

    Reply to Susie @ Mile High Dreamers
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yes! It’s crazy how the body responds to a post-workout! Timing is everything 🙂

      I always throw leftover pumpkin into my shakes!!

      Fall is a great time to throw veggies into soups and bakes!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Nana

    I need this!

    Reply to Nana
  • Lauren

    Hey, just wanted to give you a heads up that it’s actually basal metabolic rate, not basic 🙂

    Reply to Lauren
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Lauren!

      I don’t know why, but my apple auto-fix kept changing the spelling and I didn’t catch it on the last publish! Thanks for the heads up! Got it fixed 😀

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Shalynn

    The strawberry banana CP is like dessert.

    Reply to Shalynn
  • Kyla Woelfle

    I love this post! Earlier this year, I realized that I definitely need to eat/drink something after a workout, otherwise I get terribly sick.
    I pay for it when I try to cut out as many calories as possible. I see that cutting calories is not the way to go, instead, like you said, it’s all about timing.

    I am curious about pre-workout ideas as well. Before workouts, what do you eat/drink and how much time do you wait after eating/drinking to begin your workout?

    I would love to try our Core Power, especially since it is convenient and easy right after a workout. Your Pumpkin Vanilla Core Power Post Workout Recovery Shake sounds delicious!!! I bet vanilla and chocolate would be my favs! 🙂

    Reply to Kyla Woelfle
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Kyla!

      Your body can literally just shut off when you need fuel! It does that for me (and kyle) anyways. Cutting calories will just demolish your goals and if anything make it do the opposite of what you want!

      For pre-workout, I do a slow digesting carb like oats about an hour before a workout!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt

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