Post Workout Nutrition

Anyone who trains knows the importance of post workout nutrition.  This is when the body is broken down and what you put in it after a workout can have a big affect on your training.  Putting the right nutrients in your body like protein and carbs can add some pretty noticeable gains.  And yes, carbs are a good thing and should not be cut out of your diet.  Too much of anything is bad, including carbs, so moderate the intake. 


Protein is an obvious choice for a post workout nutrient.  It provides the muscles to rebuild after you break it down.  Your cells are slightly damaged and are hungry.  However, the cells cannot produce the necessary nutrients from nothing, it needs some outside help.  Whey protein is the best help for the cells and it is digested quickly.  Therefore, your cells and muscles recover quicker and take advantage of the available protein.  Eating a protein rich food won’t be as effective as whey protein because the food takes too long to digest.  By the time your body gets the protein from, let’s say tuna, the muscle has already recovered and missed out on the valuable nutrients.   

There are a lot of different brands of whey protein that have a “new flavor” or have added “nutrients” in them.  I suggest going with something simple that has about 20g of protein per scoop.  If you have better luck with just 20g, then stick with that, but if you feel like you are not improving in your training, up the amount.  Make sure you stick with tuna, egg whites and chicken to get additional protein throughout the day. 

Carbohydrates have been looked down upon since the Atkins’s Diet.  This is a load of crap.  Your body needs this just as much as you need oxygen.  After a workout, a simple carb like a baked potato is essential.  When you are working out, you’re breaking down the muscles, as mentioned before.  The body is using the muscle for glycogen, which provides the body with energy.  The simple carbs provide quick glycogen to the body so your muscles don’t shrink and you regain your energy quickly.

Another important, and often overlooked, nutrient is L-Glutamine.  This is an amino acid that is especially important when doing cardio for around 30 minutes or more.  It’s almost like saran wrap for your muscles; it prevents the muscle you do have from being broken down too much for the glycogen.

So, what does this mean?  Protein builds more muscle, carbs replenish the glycogen from the broken down muscle and L-Glutamine prevents muscle loss.  All of these should be taken within an hour.  The sooner you get the nutrients, the better.

Posted on Jul 22 2009, under Nutrition | No Comments »

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