The following is a guest post from Sharon Richter.
During a workout one burns stored fuel, glycogen, looses water and electrolytes (Sodium, Potassium and Chloride). The most import thing to replace is lost fluids. The best way to determine how much your body needs is to weigh yourself before you exercise and after. For each pound lost, replenish it with 24 oz of water. Second, you also want to replenish the glycogen within 15 minutes of your activity. This can be in the form of fruit, juice, or a sports drink. You want something that is quick and easily absorbed (not high in fiber). The third element to include in your post workout intake is protein. As you exercise you are creating tiny tears in your muscle. To help repair the muscle, protein is necessary. A good ratio of carbohydrates to protein is a 4:1 ratio. In addition to helping repair your muscle, protein helps with the absorption of water. An example of what might work are:
Various activities will require different amounts of refueling. For example, if you run hard for 60 minutes you will need to replenish all of the nutrients mentioned (water, electrolytes, carbohydrates and protein). On the other hand if you lift weights for 30 minutes you might not need the same amount of water, electrolytes and carbohydrates as you did not burn as much. Start with testing your water lost.
Women usually are looking to lean out while men want to put on muscle. Because of this men tend to eat or drink in the form of a shake for more protein. It is usually not all necessary and the extra is just excreted.
No one item is perfect for everyone. Some of the choices I would suggest trying are Code Blue (www.drinkcodeblue.com), coconut water and pedialyte. They all provide hydration, carbohydrates and electrolytes.
If part of your purpose for exercising is to loose weight be a little more mindful on your post workout intake. For an hour of moderate to intense exercise look for something that is about 200 calories and low in fat such as a yogurt and piece of fruit. Your hunger may increase as your exercise does, be careful not to over indulge. One should keep in mind that we are all unique; our bodies will handle various products differently. While a banana and some nuts might be the perfect post workout snack, another might do best with a recovery drink and some protein such as an egg.