The hour after you finish working out is a very important time to ensure that you are getting your body the nutrition that it needs in or to repair itself. There is an old saying the muscles are torn in the gym, fed in the kitchen and rebuilt in bed. The irony in all of this is that your time in the gym has basically the least amount of importance when it comes to getting healthy and building lean muscle. We’re going to take a look at some of the important facts that people are missing and hopefully fill some gaps, so let’s get started.
When you lift weights or do high-intensity cardio, you are tearing your muscle fibers. Most of this is common knowledge to anyone who has ever read a fitness article. However, one facet that is often neglected to be mentioned is where did this energy that you used to workout come from? Your body is an amazing machine and runs on Glycogen. The dictionary defines Glycogen as, “a substance deposited in bodily tissues as a store of carbohydrates. It is a polysaccharide that forms glucose on hydrolysis.” In layman’s terms, Glycogen is your energy stores. It is built up in your muscle tissue and utilized by your body when you need it, like when you are weight training. During your training routine, you deplete these levels and they must be replenished. This is where the most important part of your fitness journey comes into play.
So, we just finished our workout and we’re drenched in sweat, we’re exhausted and probably hungry. Our muscles are begging for nutrients and our body is working out how it is going to replenish our energy stores. Now, our body utilizes carbohydrates as fuel, so that is what it craves. This is where we fall into a trap. What do we feed our bodies to ensure that we repair our damaged muscles fibers, while at the same time, replenish Glycogen and burn fat. There are a few different methods we can use. First, we can eat. Food should always be your primary source of protein, carbs, and fat. The only issue with using food after a workout is that it can take our body several hours to break down the nutrients provided by, chicken and rice after we workout and by the time it has been broken down it will be used to replenish Glycogen first and then repair muscle fibers. Remember, our body is only concerned with survival, not muscle development. So, what can we use instead of food? Maybe a protein shake. We have to remember though that not all protein is created equal. If you take a sustained assimilation protein like Casein, it takes a long time for your body to absorb the nutrients. If you take just a basic Whey protein that is high temp processed or ionized, the Amino Acid structure has been changed and you are likely to not get the best results out of it. The best option, in my opinion, is a low temp processed, hydrolyzed whey isolate protein. The low temp process ensures that the Amino Acid profile is kept intact allowing your body to receive all of the macros the protein boasts and the rapid absorption ensures that your muscles are fed.
Now, to make things even more complex. We are looking to replenish Glycogen and rebuild muscle. This is where Insulin becomes so important. After a workout, your body is in what is known as an Anabolic state. It is craving nutrients and will readily absorb them. For this, I use a mixture of a fast digesting carbohydrate with a hydrolyzed whey isolate protein. This ensures that my muscles are fed and rebuilt and while Glycogen is replenished. This aids in the recovery of your muscles and an added benefit, it reduces soreness. Think of Insulin as a freight train, when you take a fast digesting carb you are adding more cars to the train and the fast digesting protein is the cargo. This combo is almost impossible to beat when it comes to recovery. If you take it 30-45 minutes after training and follow it up with a quality meal 30-60 minutes later you are priming your body for optimal recovery and growth. As always there is so much more that can be said about nutrition and recovery, but I want to keep it short for the article. Hope this helps in giving you a basic guide and if you have any questions feel free to email me or leave a comment.
If you are interested, here is a link to the post workout recovery that I use and I have not been able to find a better combo available. Keep working hard and making 2017 your best year yet. Post Workout