When first starting to workout everyone’s million dollar question is, “What do I eat after my workout?” This is a great question as it is important to have a solid workout recovery diet plan.
The short answer is protein as soon as possible.
During a workout you are contracting your muscles to curl, press, extend, etc. This breaks down your muscle fibers and creates micro tears from the muscle’s previously healed state. The more you break down these fibers, the bigger, stronger, and more defined the muscle structure becomes. During this process your body is using stored glycogen and BCAAs for fuel. Directly after a workout your body starts to search for new fuel to repair and replenish the muscles within your body. If you don’t eat within 60 minutes of a workout, your body will go into this auto-catabolism mode and starts using its own muscle to derive energy to continue to fuel the body’s normal functions.
This is why it is suggested you take a whey protein shake with you to the gym or just carry this powder with you to consume it directly after your workout. Although I wouldn’t recommend always depending on a protein shake for two reasons.
- Depending on your weight, this may not be enough protein for you to hold off the breakdown in the body.
- Your body only absorbs 6-10% of protein per hour. Chances are you need way more than that.
But a protein shake can be something to hold you off before your next meal (and is always better than nothing). Alternatively, try having a well balanced meal before you workout. If you absolutely know a protein shake is the best, you can have one after your workout.
Your body is never going to be more receptive to absorb the nutrients that help fuel the body than within that first hour after a workout. If possible, eat within the first 15 minutes of completing a workout! The longer you wait, the less receptive your muscles are to the nutrients.
If you have any questions as to what you should be eating before or after a workout (kinds of foods, need a meal plan) feel free to email me.
Until then, remember: 70% nutrition + 30% workout = 100% of the results you want to achieve.