Member retention is an important goal for clubs of all types. We all know that the secret to success in this business is to keep members happy and coming back regularly. A well-known but often overlooked piece to the member retention puzzle is RESULTS! Members who achieve results tend to keep coming back.
Fitness facilities today are doing a fantastic job of providing all facets of wellness: personal training, group exercise options, and nutritional counseling. When it comes to the success of training programs, nutrition plays a big role. When implemented properly and consistently, strategic pre- and post-workout supplementation can greatly increase the effectiveness of training which will lead to member retention.
Many educated gym owners today are finding that the placement of a smoothie bar in their facility is much more than just adding a profit center to their business – it is a vital part of their health offering to their members. With that knowledge comes the discovery that offering fitness programs along with a healthy smoothie option under the same roof is an under-utilized opportunity to provide your club members with just the post-workout nutrition they need!
The Post-Workout Meal: The Most Critical Nutritional Period
As many gym owners, managers, personal trainers, and even members know, the most critical nutritional period for muscle retention and growth is the postworkout meal. The post-workout meal is probably the most important meal of the day for anyone who is trying to get fit. However, in many cases, this importance leads to confusion. Maybe it’s because of the many ready-made shakes available on the market. Maybe it’s just not knowing what to eat after a workout. Whatever it is, it’s confusing.
After a hard workout, your body is severely depleted of glycogen and glucose. Hard-working muscles utilize sugar in the form of glucose (usable form), and glycogen (stored form) for energy. The amount of fuel in your tank obviously does not last forever. As such, there is a point at which blood glucose levels (available energy) and glycogen levels (stored energy) get so low that effective exercise cannot occur. This is typically characterized by a decline in energy levels (1.).
The truth is, once you understand the basics of post-workout nutrition, your post-workout meal will probably become the most simple decision, and quickest one of the day! So, what exactly are these needs? They are as follows:
Need 1. Water: Hydrating the body is of utmost importance.
Need 2. Carbohydrates: The purpose of carbohydrates is to offset protein catabolism and to replenish spent glycogen. Smoothies can infuse carbohydrates into the body immediately. More on this later…
Need 3. Protein: Consuming approximately 23 to 50 grams of quality protein per post-workout period will offset muscle loss. Your body will digest a whey protein shake much quicker than any whole food because it is in liquid form. Also, whey protein is the fastest digesting protein available. This is what makes whey pretty much the official choice of most people as their post-workout protein source. And, this is where a City Blends™ Smoothie CafÃ© can offer members the perfect post-workout meal. We’ve All Heard That Carbs Are Bad…
First of all, carbohydrates aren’t so bad; they are actually an important part of post-workout nutrition. Keep this in mind: it’s TOO MANY carbs that can be bad. Carbs are used by your body to restore muscle glycogen. If your post-workout meal doesn’t contain carbs, your the body can actually break down muscle tissue instead of building it up, and that would be bad! (Again, not TOO MANY!) Carbs also create an insulin spike, which helps to move nutrients to your muscle tissues quicker.
So, now that you know you need them, what kind of carbs do you need? Well, you have probably heard all about good carbs and bad carbs by now, right? Interestingly enough, the only time when good and bad carbs switch roles is after a workout. Typical good carbs (such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc.) contain fiber, and fiber slows down their digestion. This is what makes these carbs good any other time of the day. However, by now you know that the post-workout meal is all about speed. And, when it comes to speed, simple carbs beat complex carbs hands down. This is where a small amount of sugar is key. (The current debate about sugar is shrouded in misinformation, false marketing, and pseudo-nutritional advice.)
What Are the Simple Facts About Sugar?
Undoubtedly, the key here is moderation. Sugar is not bad. In fact, sugar is necessary for cellular function. After a workout, the carbohydrates you ingest should be in a powdered or liquid form. The reason for this is simple: faster absorption. The faster you can get glucose into your bloodstream and muscles, the less protein that is destroyed and the more glycogen that is stored. Normal digestion simply takes too long. A combination of juice and maltodextrin serves this purpose nicely. Maltodextrin is very rapidly absorbed, and fruit juices add flavor and will be the most rapidly absorbed. This is where a smoothie cafÃ© can function nicely for club goers – a fruit smoothie, from City Blends™, is a practical, perfect choice.
Are Some Sugars Better than Others?
What is sucrose? What is high-fructose corn syrup? What is fructose? How does it differ from crystalline fructose? What about glucose? These and other questions are often misunderstood.
Sucrose is what we normally see as table sugar, and it is extracted from sources such as sugar cane. Although it is the world’s most prevalent sugar, it’s rapidly being replaced by the fructose syrups processed from corn – most notably, high-fructose corn syrup and crystalline fructose.
High-fructose corn syrup provides flavor stability and sweetness that is comparable with sucrose. High-fructose corn syrup is derived from cornstarch, which is almost 100% glucose. It is enzymatically processed to convert much of the glucose into crystalline fructose. Thus, high-fructose corn syrup is composed of glucose and crystalline fructose, normally in about a 1:1 ratio, having a blend of both glucose and fructose.
Fructose is the sugar type found in fruit. It has a high sweetness profile.
Crystalline fructose is probably the most misunderstood of all the sugars. The misinformed often equate it with fruit sugar. However, it is not derived from fruit, but rather from cornstarch. It is not found in nature, nor is it derived from fruit.
Glucose has a high glycemic index and is the most readily available form of cellular energy, making it the sugar of choice for sports drinks. It is easily converted into glycogen and used in high-intensity exercise as energy.
Always remember, the ultimate cause of obesity is not consuming sugar, but consuming more calories than we expend. All sugars contain the same amount of calories, and all sugars consumed in excess will make you fat. Again, moderation is the key!
So, How Long After a Workout Should a Post-Workout Meal Be Ingested?
The answer is soon – really soon! It doesn’t need to be “Hurry up, put down the dumbbells and start eating.” However, there is a “window of opportunity” that exists after a workout, during which it is most beneficial for your body to receive its post-workout nutrition. You want to try and get this meal into your body within one hour – although if possible, within 30 minutes would be better.
How Can Your Members Get the Proper Post-Workout Nutrition Fast While Still at the Gym?
Well, that’s where your City Blends™ Smoothie CafÃ© comes in! If your fitness facility wants to offer a healthy solution for members, then a City Blends™ Smoothie CafÃ© is the perfect choice. City Blends is the only smoothie of its kind which offers a unique blend of sweetners that produce a Lower Sugar Smoothie option. The proper post-workout nutrition for your members is just steps away!
1. Sandeep De., (n.d.) Critical Mass: Optimizing Post Workout Nutrition. Retrieved October 2007 from timinvermont.com/fitness.
2. Post Workout Meal Nutrition – What to Eat After a Workout (n.d.) Retrieved October 2007 from.intense-workout.com/post_workout.
3. Haycock, Bryan, (n.d.) Going on a Diet? The Protein Supplement You Choose Might Make a Big Difference. A Note About “Low Carb” Bars, Glycerol & the FDA. Protein Pulse Feeding May Revolutionize the Way We Plan Our Meals. A Review of the Different Types of Popular Diets. Retrieved October 2007 from thinkmuscle.com.
4. Bernardi, John (2004, January). The Importance of Post Workout Nutrition. Retrieved October 2007 from bodybuilding.com.
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