Many weightlifters that want to build muscle, often underestimate or in some cases – totally neglect the proper post-workout nutrition and by doing this they limit their muscle gains.
What is happening to the body after an intense weight training session?
The muscles use glycogen as a primary energy source. During an intense workout the stored glycogen in the liver and muscles is depleted. The more intense and longer the workout – more glycogen is needed for our muscles to continue with the heavy work.
After the workout the glycogen is depleted and our body releases muscle building and muscle preserving hormones to increase the speed of dealing with the microtearing of the muscle fibers and connective tissues. In other words our body is in a perfect muscle-building hormonal environment after a heavy workout.This post workout period of about 3-4 hours is also known a an “anabolic window”.During this period the muscles “act like a sponge” and can absorb large quantities of nutrients.
There are two things you need to do during this “anabolic window” if you want more muscle on your frame:
1. You have to restore the depleted glycogen
2. You have to supply the muscles with adequate quantities of protein so that the micro tears can be repaired.
The best option for muscle building is probably a combination of a post workout drink and solid food containing adequate quantities of the right macro nutrients.
Immediately after the workout you should consume a post-workout drink because a liquid meal is digested faster than solid food and will replenish glycogen stores faster.A combination of 40-50g whey protein,70-80 of fast carbs (usually dextrose or even white sugar is good after an intense workout) and 5g of creatine, mixed in water, would be a perfect post-workout drink.
An hour after the post-workout drink you should consume a solid food meal.This meal should also be high in protein and carbohydrates.A good idea is to aim for 60-80g of protein and 80-100 g of carbohydrates.Actually about 60-70% of your total daily carbs can be consumed during this “anabolic window”.You can get your protein from sources like chicken,beef,tuna,whole eggs and carbs from rice,pasta and potatoes.Here are some examples.
– 300g of steak and 150g of rice/potatoes
– 300g of beef and 100g of pasta
– 150 g of pasta and 1 can of tuna
Paying a little more attention to your post workout nutrition can bring serious progress and more muscle to your frame.