Post-workout Eating Goodness

Posted: August 17, 2012 in Fat Loss, Muscle-building, Uncategorized
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There is no shortage of items to be eaten on any given day especially if fitness is far from your prime goal. From the sausage-engorged pizza pie to the tiny, sweet delicacy that is a cake pop, everything is at your disposable when you care nothing for how you look and feel. But if you have the slightest interest in looking how you were made to look and exhibiting your best form, then these choices should be reserved for your most liberal “cheat day.” There are certain foods primed for consumption for every different phase of one’s day from morning to night, but for the purposes of brevity and focus, let’s stick with post-workout nutrition for this article.

When one exerts himself/herself sufficiently during a workout, the muscles’ level of sugar, or glycogen, is depleted almost to nothingness. The muscles then would like nothing more than to be filled right up again with anything you could throw at ’em so that their functionality and recovery may be optimized. You could have that delicious slice of pizza or that delectable cake ball with lessened impact on fat gain because you are not adding to sugar-filled muscles but to empty muscles. But recovery would just not be at all the same. And after all, recovery, that rebuilding of broken down muscle, is exactly what you want and what you were working for (Even you ladies! the more muscle you have the more fat you burn throughout the day). But which foods exactly should you shuttle to tired muscle fibers?

Well the answer depends on what you want out of the fit lifestyle: muscle-gain or fat-loss. Let’s focus on fat loss for now. With fat loss you want to limit carbohydrates and much as you can or manipulate them for optimal use and limited adipose tissue storage (fat gain.) Your body needs carbs for overall health and a steady metabolism. Any diets that remove them completely or limit them extremely is destined for failure because your metabolism will not keep up and slow to a crawl. Having said this, there are two times of the day where you should consume your bulk of carbs while dieting–the morning and post-workout. Since we are on the topic of post-workout, let’s stick with that.

With the basic macro-nutrients in mind, you need your protein and carbs after your workout but leave fat as far as possible from the line-up. When considering protein, the faster the better. In other words, you want the form of protein that will reach your muscle fibers the fastest and there really is no faster than tried-and-true whey isolate or hydrolysate. About 1-2 scoops or 25-50g should suffice for most individuals. The protein is vital in supplying those much-needed amino acids to build-up those torn down muscles and should not be skimped on by any means. (Side note-you may not know this but protein is the most “active” of the three macros meaning that the body burns more calories digesting it than any other–which is a great thing!)

Your muscles not only need protein but also carbs to rebuild and refill. The best form of carb to consume so as to benefit muscles the most are your fast-acting carbs or your “white” carbs like potatoes, white rice, and even sugar( But the right sugar). These carbs require that your body produce insulin for proper digestion. Insulin is a very powerful biological force and very anabolic, shooting the protein/carb combo directly into those debilitated muscles. This makes for a very potent post-workout concoction. (You may note that insulin tends to elicit fat gain and you would be half right. Under normal circumstances that insulin would carry sugar not mainly to muscles because they are already filled up but to the liver and that is not good. This would almost certainly lead to more fat gain which is the reason why consuming candy tends to be counter-productive to good health.)

I recommend 25-50 grams of quality whey protein isolate and 35-60 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates to fuel your success. The combo should be consumed within 1 hour of finishing your last set or last minute of jogging, but the sooner the better. For my next article I will discuss what best to take in when you want to bulk up or build muscle.

  1. lindsaycolle says:

    I love your raw writing, it makes me happy to read something which comes across as easy and carefree on such a serious topic. Kudos to you and thanks for liking my post on water!

    • Thanks you so much for your comment! it truly is nice to know that I have something different to offer on such a widesreead topic. Please follow the blog for the latest info and spin on the fitness world.

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