Subscribe to our Newsletter:
Healthy Diet Plans >>  Sports Nutrition >>  Post Game Meal

Post Game Meal

After an event a post game meal or snack is often forgotten, but this meal plays importance in an athlete’s diet. Carbohydrates that are stored in the body in the form of glycogen are depleted soon after an event. Human body has a limited capacity to store carbohydrates, after an activity the enzymes responsible for taking in fuel and storing it in liver and muscles are at their highest level within first 30-45 minutes. It is wise to take advantage of this period and have a nutritious post game meal. 1.5 g carbohydrate per kg body weigh at the interval of 2 hours is often recommended.
For example when this amount is consumed immediately after exercise it increases the glycogen stores 6 hours post exercise compared to delayed ingestion of a post exercise meal for 2 hours.

The composition and timing of a post exercise meal will largely depend on the duration, length and intensity of the exercise as this will determine the amount of glycogen depleted from the body. For maximum benefits it is often recommended to feed 0.4 g carbohydrates per kg body weight every 15 minutes for 4 hours after a glycogen depleted state (remember this can lead to high energy load). However the time of carbohydrate intake does not affect the glycogen stores for an athlete who takes one or more days between intense training sessions.

The recovery of muscle protein is also important, addition of protein along with sufficient carbohydrate in a post game meal will not only help to recover the muscle fibers but will also aid the storage of carbohydrates and promote a more anabolic hormonal profile. Carbohydrate to protein ratio is also of importance, a commonly recognized ratio is of 3:1 respectively, in other words 75 g of carbohydrates and 25 g protein from a post game meal will help an athlete to recover after an event. Glucose and sucrose have almost similar effects when consumed at the rate of 1.5 g per kg body weight for 2 hours, but fructose is less effective. 24 hours after an exercise, muscle glycogen stores are higher when high glycemic index foods are consumed than compared to low glycemic index foods. However the emphasis should be laid on an overall healthy post game meal for an athlete.
Some athletes may experience mild dehydration as the fluid intake post event is often forgotten. Adding sodium in the drink can be beneficial in 2 ways, maintains osmolarity and thus desire to drink and reduce diuresis that can occur when only plain water is ingested. Fluid consumption can be up to 150% of the weight lost during an exercise.
Submitted on September 4, 2008