With all of the information available on fitness today, it’s easy to get confused. This is especially true when it comes to post-workout nutrition. Directly after exercise is a crucial time: eating the right nutrients can greatly enhance your gains, while the wrong foods (or even worse, nothing) can hinder your progress. Maximize your efforts and enhance recovery with smart nutritional choices after your workout.
After an intense resistance training workout, your body needs to be properly replenished for optimal recovery. Consuming a source of fast acting protein, like whey, shortly after exercise can increase strength and support muscle growth. Combine that with some rapidly absorbed, high glycemic carbs and you have yourself the ideal post workout meal. The protein will help repair your muscles, while the carbohydrates will replenish glycogen stores.
A recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that consuming a combination of protein and carbohydrates after a workout not only increased strength in subjects, but also improved their body composition. Whether your goal is to lose fat or gain muscle, after weight training workouts, consume this combo to see results.
While protein and simple carbohydrates are perfect after a workout, one macronutrient that is important to avoid at that time is dietary fat. When consumed directly after a workout, fat can slow absorption of other nutrients at a time when your body needs them the most. At any other time of the day, unsaturated fat is a necessary component of a healthy diet. Just make sure to steer clear of it after a workout.
Another pitfall to avoid is to skip your post-workout meal. If you don’t consume anything after a workout, your body will enter a catabolic state. This means it will be using muscle tissue for energy instead of carbohydrates or fat. A post-workout meal will help you stay in an anabolic, muscle building state.