Reuben's 45 minute post workout nutrition.
Left to right
- Ice packs x 2, electrolyte/carbohydrate powder, whey protein hydrolysate, lean beef burgers, brown rice, frozen vegetables, olive oil spray.
Anyone these days with half a brain realises that working out alone won't get you anywhere near where you want to be, an equal commitment to nutrition and recovery also play a pivotal role in fast and noticeable gains.
When most people decide that their diets need some attention they immediately jump into a complete swap from old ways into newer, healthier methods. Well hold up there buddy, I suggest you stop and take a step back into a far easier and immediately effective option;
A complete concentration towards your post workout nutrition.
What condition is your body in after a workout?
At the start of a workout your body 'should' be full of energy, that energy primarily coming from glucose stores (sugar) which is the product of broken down carbohydrates. Useable energy also comes from triglycerides (fats) and proteins, though your most used and trusted energy for explosive exercise is glucose.
During that workout your glucose stores are called upon over and over without the opportunity to re-fill their tanks, meaning at the end of your workout, those glucose stores are close to empty.
Closely related to glucose is the energy source glycogen, some of this is stored in our muscle cells and is responsible for the uptake of new proteins and amino acids into each cell. Post workout, glycogen levels are also very low.
Muscle wise, if your session was effective, your muscles cells should be in a state of 'micro-trauma', meaning fibres have literally broke their backs performing the exercises you just completed!
So post workout;
> Muscle fibres are damaged and in need of repair.
> Muscle cells are low in glycogen (energy for repair)
How do we fix this?
You have 3 options; the wrong way, the right way or the best way...
The best way to get us out of this situation is to initiate 'protein synthesis' as soon as possible. This means the repair and reconstruction of a muscle cell after localised damage has occurred.
I would be very interested to know what you're thinking right now, would it be something like, 'get as much protein into you as possible'? If so, there is your first mistake!
A muscle cell cannot uptake new proteins and amino acids if it doesn't have the energy to do so, and what provides that energy, glycogen of course, and what levels are they at post workout? Very very low, so first thing we need to so is replace those muscle glycogen stores!
What are the best sources of glycogen?
Glycogen is the storage from of glucose within a muscle, it helps re-supply the blood with new glucose when stores are low during exercise. But what happens when both levels are low? Digesting foods or drinks high in fast acting sugars needs to be your first priority.
I personally keep it really simple here and have half a bottle of a fruit juice, sports drink like Gatorade or 2 pieces of low acid fruits. Once digested, your blood glucose levels begin to rise and re-supply your glycogen storage facility, once again allowing for peak performance.
When blood glucose levels rise rapidly, the hormone 'insulin' is also released from the pancreas, with the task of further widening the entry point for new proteins and amino acids into muscle cells that need repair.
How do we get the new protein?
So our muscle glycogen stores have been replenished, they now have the energy needed to start the repair process and insulin is ready to assist, so now all we need is a fresh supply of fast absorbing protein.
Your protein intake at this stage must consist of only complete proteins; eggs, dairy, seafood and most meats, which all contain the 10 essential amino acids we need available simultaneously in relative amounts to begin protein synthesis.
Protein on the end of a fork compared to protein completely digested and ready to be absorbed are two completely different things and on average around 1 hour apart. This can greatly impact on protein synthesis as that time where whole foods are being digested is the time your muscles are primed and ready for uptake. This is where a post workout supplement can be very useful.
What is the best post workout supplement?
When discussing protein supplements, you have to look at three things; 1) Quality, 2) Speed of absorption and 3) Price.
I use a whey protein hydrolysate, meaning the protein has gone through a process that forms pre-digested peptides for much faster absorption into damaged muscle. Basically, instead of waiting 3-4 hours for whole foods or other whey blends, the protein is ready and used by the muscle within 30-80 minutes.
Simple changes equal serious results (things to remember)
1) Immediately post training (< 30min) have a serving of simple carbohydrates.
Re-supplies your muscle glycogen stores so they now have the energy needed plus an insulin spike to uptake new proteins and amino acids for recovery.
2) Immediately after your simple carbohydrate serving, intake 1 shake of fast digesting complete proteins (whey hydrolysate is recommended)
Begins the full throttle process of protein synthesis to repair muscles to a larger and stronger state.
3) After shake, intake a LARGE meal of complete proteins and complex carbohydrates at a ration of 3:1.
Further maintains your body in 'Positive nitrogen balance', means when the amount of protein being incorporated into tissue is greater that the amount being broken down and used for energy.
This is just phase 1 of my 4 phase cycle for growth.
I will go further into this in the coming weeks and obviously in my book, for now here are another couple questions for you, please answer below.
1) Being completely honest, think back to your last workout, what foods or drinks did you consume immediately after it?
2) Do you currently use a post workout supplement? What type?
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