Break ‘Em Down to Build ‘Dem Up!

By: Janine Serio

“TIME” is called; 20 minutes and done. Legs shaking, arms quivering, labored breathing, and one hell of a workout complete. Quick, efficient, and effective – that is what we are talking about! In under 30 minutes, you have worked every part of your body…heart, lungs, muscles, etc. You feel as though you have been working out for hours, except you get time back on your side and the POST-WORKOUT effects are that much greater! Want to try it out yourself? 

Click here for today’s workout—> Break ‘Em Down to Build ‘Dem Up!

Speaking of post-workout, it should come as no surprise that the 2 Health Nuts are advocates for immediate recovery. This has been especially key as training for our half and full marathons have ramped up these past couple weeks.

Why is the post-workout “window of nutrient timing” so important? Beyond recovery, and being able to get back in the gym, or on the pavement, that much quicker, it provides a host of other benefits:

  • Increased performance
  • Decreased muscle soreness and tissue damage
  • Improved body composition
  • Improved immune function
  • Improved bone mass

Large amounts of micro-damage are done to the muscle after a high-intensity training session. While damage does lead to growth, the goal is to avoid mass amounts of breakdown. Your body’s cortisol levels are sky high post-workout, which leads to more muscle breakdown and puts us in a catabolic state. Through proper nutrition, which includes proper nutrient timing, we are able to put the body back into a more anabolic state.

Your 2 main focuses in the post-workout window should be as followed:

  1. ENERGY! Glucose and glycogen levels will be significantly depleted. Bring on the carbohydrates…the fast digesting ones, though. While slow digesting CHO are preferred, we are looking for the quickest way for nutrients to get to the muscles. Some of our favorite options? Sweet (or regular) potatoes, white rice, bananas, and melon. Remember, CHO are very individualized and you should choose based on how they are working for YOU. We know many people who prefer to consume breads, cereals, bagels, pancakes, waffles, etc., after their workout. It works for them. Experiment and see how you feel, and, more importantly, how it affects your recovery efforts.
  2. REBUILD & REPAIR! We do a lot more “breaking down” in a workout then “building up,” so it is essential that you limit the amount of protein breakdown that occurs. The goal is to increase protein synthesis. In its simplest terms, this is the process of repairing the “damage” done to your muscles, and then constructing new proteins to facilitate the growth of new muscle. Here is where your lean proteins come into play. Additionally, leucine, a Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) – assist in muscle rebuilding and glycogen replenishment post workout – is considered the “master switch” to start protein synthesis. Some of our favorite proteins, which include an ample amount of leucine, include eggs, lean chicken, pork, turkey, & beef, salmon & tuna, peanuts & almonds, some beans, and even whey & casein protein powder.

Our Recommendations:

  • Within 60 minutes of your workout, aim to consume a meal that combines a quick digesting carbohydrate and lean protein. Side Note: Some people are unable to tolerate solid foods immediately after a workout. No problem…you can still refuel properly! I know this has been an issue for me, lately, long runs. If you find this to be an issue, try to consume your calories in liquid form. In fact, my (current) FAVORITE post-workout “meal” is a smoothie that I have showcased below. It is easier on my stomach, more palatable, and gives me the right dosage of carbohydrates to proteins.
  • Within 2 hours of your workout, aim to consume WHOLE, SOLID FOODS that are made up of quick/slow digesting carbohydrates and lean proteins. By this point, your body should be ready for another meal and, if stomach issues were an “issue,” it should have calmed by this point. Again, this is all individual so listen to your body.
  • We have always found great success in using the 1-1.2 g/kg of bodyweight for CHO & anywhere from 20-30 grams of protein. Again, these are not hard and fast rules – you may need more or less of both – but this is a good starting point.
  • Also, while healthy fats are vital, try to limit consumption in the post-workout window since it slows down the absorption rate of CHO & proteins.

Ready for a recipe? Here is my favorite post-workout meal, especially after my 10+ miles runs. One thing that I have figured out about my body is that I thrive more on lean protein, healthy fats, and fibrous carbohydrates. I add in the starchy carbohydrates around my workouts and/or for breakfast, but I don’t feel the need to consume at every meal. I am just NUTS for this banana-cocoa shake!



  • 1-2 cups almond milk; unsweetened
  • 1 scoop or packet of your favorite protein powder (<3 Vega Brand products)
  • 1 scoop Metabolic Effect’s Craving Cocoa
  • 1 medium banana; green tipped
  • Lots if ice, ice, baby!

Place ingredients, as listed, in a high powered blender. Blend until you reach the desired consistency.

Oh, and if you are interested in the Vega and/or Metabolic Effect products, check out our “Affiliate Page.”

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