Consequences of delayed eating after workout | Uphill Athlete

Consequences of delayed eating after workout

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  • #32244

    I believe TFNA recommends eating within an hour of finishing a workout. What are the consequences of a delay? Would that cause recovery to take longer?

Posted In: Nutrition

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    Rebecca Dent on #32251

    Hi Mariner_9,

    Good question! The answer to your question is it depends…

    The recovery window (of approx. 2hrs post training) is what was originally recommended as the optimal point to eat protein/carbs to recover from the training session/event (at this point our muscles have an increase in uptake of glycogen and also optimising protein levels in the blood to increase muscle make up and slow muscle breakdown shortly after training).

    However what the research is now showing is that you don’t necessarily have to eat immediately after if you are going to be eating your next meal within 60mins of that session (so this is still a recovery meal) and also it depends on the intensity/duration/goals of that session.

    Examples I would recommend eating in the hour after the session are;

    1) You are training twice per day.
    2) The session has lasted longer than 1hr and it has been a hard workout/effort required e.g strength, hill reps, weighted uphill hike, high intensity run, hard climbing effort and it is going to be longer than 60mins until you next eat.
    3) After fasted training sessions.
    4) A big hill day.

    If you don’t fuel within the hour following these types of sessions then this could impact recovery and prolong fatigue/cause feelings of fatigue in your next session/session the following day. However it is all very individual so I would take a closer look at training load per day/in the week/training goals etc to then provide guidance.

    What the research is now suggesting is that recovery is a 24hr process and it is important to make good food / meal composition choices at each meal (recovery and pre bed as required). But yes it still may be imperative to optimise that window of recovery following training.

    Rebecca – Uphill Athlete Dietitian

    vik.waghray on #32259

    Hi Rebecca, on a somewhat related note, if we’re doing intensive workouts in the morning (i.e. strength, muscular endurance, etc.) that typically last 1.5-2 hours how would you recommend fueling prior to them? As of now, I’m usually eating a banana before the workout and a fairly substantial recovery meal soon afterward. I find it tough to eat more than just a little bit early in the morning but also want to ensure proper recovery so these sessions don’t go to waste. Thanks!

    Mariner_9 on #32320

    Thanks for your detailed reply, Rebecca.

    At the moment, all my workouts are ~2 hours and are done in a fasted state (first thing in the morning). It’s normally possible to eat within ~1 hour of finishing but yesterday was an exception and I was curious as to the effects.

    Rebecca Dent on #33636

    Hi Vik,

    Thanks for your question. If you are doing high intensity/strength sessions in the morning that last over 1hr but you find it tough to eat in the morning, your evening meal the night before then becomes an important pre training fuel opportunity. It is important in this evening meal to include sufficient carbohydrate, I would perhaps recommend 1-2 fist size servings (depending on the training carried out that day usually it is 2 x fist size servings). When we sleep at night we are not moving and therefore not using up the stored glycogen in our exercising muscles. The morning snack (such as your banana) then simply becomes a top up for your blood glucose and liver glycogen stores. The alternative is a shake such as oats + banana + 1 x scoop of protein and you can drink half before your training session and sip on the remainder through out the session and then as per your usual have a good breakfast recovery meal.

    I hope that is helpful.

    Rebecca – Uphill Athlete Dietitian

    vik.waghray on #34095

    Thanks so much for the reply, Rebecca! Definitely helpful information.

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