I have one question
for you. What is your post-workout nutritional
If you answered
"nothing," you are cheating yourself
out of results that are rightfully yours. You
may be wasting as much as 50% of your effort
in the gym by not maximizing your post-workout
When you exercise,
your body burns carbohydrates for energy and
breaks down your muscle tissue (especially if
you are weight training). Immediately after
a workout, the body has an enhanced ability
to utilize nutrients such as glucose (sugar)
and protein (your body's main building blocks)
in order to rebuild and recover from your exercise.
What this essentially
means is that your body is turbocharged and
ready to grow! This period of power lasts for
approximately four hours after a workout, hence
the name "Four-Hour Window of Opportunity."
Taking in nutrients
immediately after exercise helps you to recover
faster and feel better after a workout. This
can help you to not only gain muscle faster,
but also keep your metabolism fueled so that
you lose fat at a faster rate too!
But what happens
if you don't eat immediately following a workout?
Let me put it this way: it's definitely a situation
you want to avoid.
First, your body
starts breaking down muscle tissue in undamaged
areas of your body in order to get raw materials
to help repair the areas you just worked. Over
time, this will result in a loss of muscle from
your whole body.
in the body (primarily a hormone called cortisol)
speed this process along. The stress hormones
are produced because working out is a stress
on the body - it's a totally natural but results-stopping
reaction. How do you control the effects of
cortisol? You eat as soon as you can.
But what do you
eat after a workout to maximize your results?
Both protein and carbohydrates are important
for fast recovery.
- Immediately following a workout (within a
few minutes of completion) take in some protein.
The easiest and best way to do this is in the
form of a protein powder (whey is an excellent
choice), though a food source such as milk will
gives your body something to rebuild with instead
of tearing down its own muscle tissue for raw
materials. Do not take protein right before
a workout as it will just sit in your gut and
possibly cause bloating. Try to get about 30
to 40 grams of protein in as soon as you can
after you're done.
- Take in about 60 to 100 grams of carbohydrates
to help the body refuel. Your body is most efficient
at rebuilding its carbohydrate stores immediately
after a workout. It's important to take advantage
of this period.
A few common examples
of healthy carbs to take after a workout include
juices, fruits, and sports drinks. Examples
of protein foods include milk, eggs, poultry,
fish, meat, or soy products. Flavored yogurt
is an excellent example of a post-workout snack.
It contains carbs, protein and calcium all in
Meal - About one hour after your workout,
take in a high quality source of protein (as
in the examples above) and a good supply of
carbohydrates such as grains, potatoes, cereals,
etc. At this time, the body has settled down
from the stress of the workout and is looking
If you're looking
to get as much from your workouts as you possibly
can, you can see that post-workout nutrition
is critical. By supplying an ample amount of
raw materials right after you're done, you will
be preventing the body from breaking itself
down in order to recover. This means more results
from the effort you put into your workouts!