Eating for Results After a HIIT Workout
Have you ever tried a HIIT workout? HIIT workouts stand for High-Intensity Interval Training. Activities are repeated at a high intensity, often pushing individuals towards 85-95% perceived exertion. HIIT workouts often include “sprints” that may take the form of running, biking, rowing or other activities that last a few seconds to a couple of minutes. HIIT also involves calculated periods of rest or lower activity interspersed with the high exertion.
Studies by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute have demonstrated that cells in the body adapt after several weeks of regular HIIT workouts and that the muscle’s oxidative capacity (ability to use oxygen) is also improved after regular HIIT training.
If you have pushed your body through a HIIT workout, it’s important to be mindful of your post-workout nourishment. Within an hour after your workout, eat a combination of carbohydrates and proteins.
Post-workout meals or snacks include:
- Hummus and whole-grain pita chips
- Grilled chicken breast and vegetables
- Fruit (apple, pear, banana) and peanut butter
- Dried fruit and almonds
- Greek yogurt or cottage cheese and fruit
- Quinoa with berries and nuts
Choosing a combination of proteins and carbohydrates for your post-workout snack is important. Your body uses glycogen (muscle-stored energy) as fuel when working out. The ideal time to replenish your glycogen stores is within one hour of your workout. During this period muscles can efficiently utilize the protein to rebuild and repair the muscle and the carbohydrate to replenish glycogen stores.
Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workouts. Water helps fight fatigue and flushes out lactic acid. Water is the best choice for workouts that are under an hour. Energy drinks have added ingredients you don’t need.
Bottom Line: Refuel after your next workout. Try a combination of protein and carbohydrates within an hour of completing your HIIT training. It’s important to remember to replenish your fluid intake as well.
Written by: Allison Thummel, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
Source 1: American Council on Exercise
Source 2: Gatorade Sports Science Institute