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Post Workout Nutrition Tips!
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As you’ve probably heard before, your post-workout meal may
very well be your most important meal of the day. The reason is that when
you’re finished with an intense workout, you’re entering a catabolic state
where your muscle glycogen is depleted and increased cortisol levels are
beginning to excessively break down muscle tissue. These conditions are not
good and the only way to reverse this catabolic state (and promote an anabolic
state) is to consume a quickly digestible post-workout meal as soon as you can
The goal is to choose a meal with easily digestible quick carbs to replenish
muscle glycogen as well as quickly digestible protein to provide the amino
acids needed to jump start muscular repair. The surge of carbohydrates
and amino acids from this quickly digested meal promotes an insulin spike from
the pancreas, which shuttles nutrients into the muscle cells.
The post-workout meal should generally contain between 300-500 calories to get
the best response. For example, a 120-lb female may only need a 300-calorie
meal, whereas a 200-lb male may need a 500-calorie post-workout meal. Your
post-workout meal should also contain anywhere from a 2:1 ratio of
carbs:protein to a 4:1 ratio of carbs:protein. While most of your other daily
meals should contain a source of healthy fats, keep the fat content of your
post-workout meal to a bare minimum, since fat slows the absorption of the
meal, which is the opposite of what you want after a workout.
When choosing what to make for your post-workout meal, the first thing to
realize is that you DON’T need any of these expensive post-workout supplement
formulations that all of the fancy ads you see everywhere will tell you that
you absolutely NEED! As with any nutritional strategies, natural is always
better. Plus you'll get a higher nutrient density by focusing on natural
ingredients as I explain here vs. the maltodextrin and refined sugar that are
normally included in the fancy post workout supplement shakes.
A good source of quickly digestible natural carbs such as frozen bananas,
pineapples, honey, or organic maple syrup are perfect to elicit an insulin response
that will promote muscle glycogen replenishment and a general anabolic (muscle
building) effect. The best source of quickly digestible protein is a quality
non-denatured whey protein isolate and/or some fat-free or low-fat yogurt. Here
are a couple ideas for delicious post-workout smoothies that will kick start
your recovery process:
Chocolate Banana – blend together 1 cup water, ˝ cup skim milk, one and a half
frozen bananas, 2 tbsp organic maple syrup, and 30 grams chocolate whey protein
powder – 38 g prot, 72 g carb, 0.5 g fat, 440 calories.
Pineapple Vanilla - blend together 1 cup water, ˝ cup vanilla yogurt, one cup
frozen pineapples, 2 tbsp honey (preferably raw), and 30 grams vanilla whey
protein powder – 35 g prot, 71 g carb, 0.5 g fat, 425 calories.
When looking to lose body fat, keep in mind that post-workout meals should have
the opposite characteristics of all of your other meals throughout each day.
While post-workout meals should have quick high glycemic index carbs and
quickly digested proteins, all of your other meals throughout the day should be
comprised of low glycemic index, slowly digested carbs and slow release
These are powerful strategies towards developing a lean
muscular body with a low body fat percentage. Another great thing about
post-workout meals is that you can satisfy even the worst sweet tooth, since
this is the one time of the day where you can get away with eating extra sugars
without adding to your gut. Instead, it all goes straight to the muscles!
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