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Post Workout Nutrition

Post Workout Nutrition
September 26, 2019 info@gymproject.co.uk

Post Workout Nutrition

10 years ago, the whole philosophy around post-workout nutrition was to grasp hold of a protein shake and down it as quick as possible post workout.  


I even read that some pro-bodybuilders started drinking their protein 20 minutes before the end of their workout to transfer nutrients to the working muscles faster.  


Are these bodybuilders and the big beefy dudes at the gym correct?  


Short answer…




I believe this aspect of post-workout nutrition (PWN) has been blown out of proportion. Below, I will debunk the myths surrounding PWN and try to simplify the information surrounding it. 


How important is timing?


In the grand scheme things, whatever your goal(Fat loss or building muscle), the timing of your meals are not important. I would personally put that effort and time into other areas of your training life. In regards to nutrition, we believe the majority of your focus should be on calories and protein.  

But what about the anabolic window?!  This is the period post-workout, where your muscles need nutrients so they can adapt to resistance training. They say you need to absorb these nutrients 20-60 minutes after your training. Well that’s what any supplement company will tell you…


The scientific research in recent times has shown that this window is not as important as supplement companies would have you believe. Rather, the research suggests that the window is indeed much greater and takes into account pre and post workout nutrition. So this window is more like 3-4 hours, not 60 minutes. 


For example, on an ideal day i will train at 11am. I have my pre workout meal at 10am, I then have a meal post training around 1-4pm, depending on my schedule.  


I think the takeaway here is worry less about what’s in your protein shake and more about your calories and protein content throughout the day. Consistent nutritious meals will far outway your timing of your post workout shake. 




Should I consume protein after I train?





Protein is the number one nutrient in building muscle and repairing muscle tissues throughout your body.  Keeping your protein high, has a factor on how much lean muscle your body has and stops any break down of muscle.


When the body ingests protein, it gets broken down into the separate amino acid components and each component gets up-taken into your bloodstream, after which absorption will take place in the body. 


20-50g of protein post-workout is a great start. This amount in that 3-4 hour window is perfect. The amount will vary on the size of the individual. 


One of the key amino acids in building lean muscle tissue is Leucine. Therefore i would focus on food that is high in this. What foods are high in leucine? Beef, chicken, fish, nuts and protein powders. 


Should I ditch the shakes all together? 


This is dependent on you and your lifestyle. If you know your not going to get a good meal in after you train, protein shakes are a great way to fill the gap. Likewise if you struggle to get ample protein throughout the day (can be harder for veggies or vegans) shakes are an easy way to up your intake. 


Carbohydrates or no?!



The popular theory is that you need carbohydrates included in your post-workout nutrition. The theory behind this,  is that the glycogen (one of two products your body turns carbs into) will help shovel the protein to the working muscles more effectively. However, the research suggests this doesnt have quite as dramatic affect as once believed. The reasoning behind this belief was due to the rise in the hormone insulin which occurs when carbohydrate is ingested. The science suggests that protein only post workout will have enough effect on this hormone to support your goals. 


If you are focussing on performance in the gym (over body composition), carbohydrates will be a good option post workout to refuel your muscles with glycogen (energy). 


I have my carbs post-workout, as I like the taste of them. I also like to spread my carbohydrates throughout the day, so I can keep my energy levels higher and feel energized for me. That’s what works for me. Ultimately that should control how you decide on your eating routine. Whatever works for you will serve you better in the long run, as you can remain consistent with your eating. 


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