Importance of post workout recovery after exercise.
It is well known by professional and non-professional athletes that to achieve any goal in sports it takes time and consistency; it does not matter if the goal is to perform better, increase cardiovascular capacity or reduce the amount of body fat. However, the frequency of each exercise session can be impaired if the body was not recovered properly.
Effects of Exercise
Exercise is considered a controlled stress factor to the body, which means that while it provides positive effects to the body such as increase of muscle mass, increase in bone density, increase in cardiovascular functions, among others, exercise is also responsible for the modifications in the immune system, depletion of carbohydrate loads, dehydration, and increase in oxidative stress, among others. Those modifications if not controlled, can associate exercise with the decrease of metabolism, loss of muscle mass and an immunosuppression situation.
It all happens because along any kind of exercise the body will increase muscle contraction, and, as result, the body will need more energy. To provide the extra need of energy, hormonal and metabolic changes happens in the human body providing energy as creatine phosphate, carbohydrate, fat, amino acids, and some time protein.
Unfortunately, the two most powerful and essential sources of energy to human body are very limited: creatine phosphate (CP) and carbohydrates. While the whole storage of CP can support only between five to fifteen seconds of exercise, carbohydrate can support up to 2 hours, depending on the carbo-load previous to the exercise and the intensity of the exercise session. The more intense the workout is, the bigger the amount of carbohydrate required. As soon as the carbohydrate loads goes down, the performance is compromised and metabolism adapts burning amino acids, degrading muscle mass and running the body to exhaustion.
Those negative signals (increasing intensity in the workouts) are important to promote adaptations in the human body that will lead to an increase of performance, acceleration of metabolism, increase of lean mass and tolerance to stress situations. In order for this to happen, the body must be recovered from the stress factor as soon as possible, what is known as the “Metabolic window” after exercise.
If the metabolic window after exercise is not respected, the body will suffer more from the negative effects of exercise than from the positive ones. In other words, the stress caused to exercise will compromise the frequency of your training.
The metabolic window after exercise occurs on the first hour after the end of exercise, but some studies showed that within 30 minutes the human body can have even more benefits. Along this period the most important factors to replenish are carbohydrates, minerals and water that were lost, but depending on the intensity, duration and even your goal, the amount of amino acids and protein are extremely important was well.
That is why different recovery formulas have been developed to fit different goals of different individuals, taking in to account the gender, the goal of exercise and life-style.