Thursday, August 18, 2011

When Can I Eat After My Workout?

The information about not eating after a workout is completely wrong. Every responsible source in bodybuilding and athletics recommends that you eat after training, and preferably within 45 minutes (maybe up to 60) after a workout. This period, known as the golden hour, is when the muscles absorb the most nutrients and when glycogen, an energy reserve in your muscles, is replaced most efficiently. The actual composition of the post-workout meal is a matter of some debate; for optimal glycogen replacement, most people recommend carbohydrates, but a certain amount of protein (at least 10 percent of the meal) is needed for muscle repair and growth.

There is a window of time about 20-60 minutes after you exercise in which your muscles will readily accept the carbohydrates and protein that you consume and suck them up to be stored away as precious energy and building blocks for recovery. But if you wait too long after exercising to eat, your body become less likely to use what you eat as fuel and recovery, and more likely to run out of energy during your next exercise session, whether later in the day or even the next day.

This is why the ideal source of protein to eat after your workout is whey protein powder. Just mix it with some type of liquid (most often water) and you got yourself a drinkable source of protein.

A whey protein shake will be digested by your body much quicker than a solid food for two reasons:

Liquid meals digest faster than solid food meals.
Whey protein is the fastest digesting form of protein there is.

This is what makes whey protein pretty much the official choice of most people as their post workout meal protein source.

In addition to food or a meal replacement shake, you can also take Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) and Glutamine after your workout. BCAA’s are necessary for building skeletal muscle and for energy in muscle cells. Glutamine has been shown to spare lean body mass during stress, improving the immune system, and increasing growth hormone levels.

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