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Raw by Bek

How Important is Post-Workout Nutrition?

By July 17, 2017 No Comments

You don’t need to be a resource management specialist to know that time is the most valuable finite resource on the planet. There’s a very limited amount of it to go around and the craziness of life isn’t showing any sign of slowing down!

So how do you ensure the greatest return on the investment in regards to your all-too-valuable time?

While this may be well recognized and applied in many aspects of modern life, it’s confusing as to why people seem to ignore this when it comes to their fitness. You’ve been given the training formula – HIIT is designed specifically with results, both cosmetically and performance-based, in mind, but without the correct post-training nutrition, your hard work will be in vain.

Need proof? When was the last time someone in the gym made any noticeable physical progress? In fact, when was the last time you made any significant physical progress? Exercise training has the potential to yield HUGE returns on any given time investment. Isn’t it a shame that most people don’t ever see this magnitude of return?

Despite this disappointing reality, hope is not lost. In fact, there’s a very easy way to capitalise on your investment.

You see, in most cases the exercise is not the problem. The problem is that people fail to invest in the other important commodity that, in combination with exercise, yields the biggest returns.

They’re buying the cart without the horse, the lemonade stand without the lemonade. They’re spending their time focused on only the exercise program while ignoring the importance of a sound nutritional program.

All hail the vital post-workout period nutrition!

The knowledge of how to eat during this time will maximise your efforts in the gym and yield the biggest returns on your time investment.

 

RE-MODELLING AND THE POST-WORKOUT PERIOD

Exercise, both strength and cardio training, is responsible for countless health and aesthetic benefits. However the exercise itself is a significant physiological stressor. Perceived symptoms of this “stress” are often mild and include muscle soreness, the need for extra sleep, and an increased appetite.

These symptoms let us know that the exercise has depleted the muscle’s fuel resources, caused some minor damage, and that the muscle is in need of replenishment and repair. While the words depletion and damage may sound like negative things, they’re not if they only stick around for a short period of time. You see, these changes allow the muscle to adapt by getting better at the exercise demands placed on it.

In all cases, exercise essentially tears down old, less adapted muscle in order to rebuild more functional muscle. This phenomenon is called remodeling.

During the exercise bout and immediately following it, exercise breaks down our muscle carbohydrate stores and our muscle protein structures. Then, the immune system comes in to clean up the mess. Finally, signals are generated to tell the body to rebuild.

To achieve full return on your time investment, you need to give the body the raw materials it needs, namely protein and carbohydrates.

 

FEEDING HUNGRY MUSCLES

All Athletes (male or female), regardless, must take their post-exercise nutrition seriously in order to provide the muscle with the raw materials it needs. As all types of exercise use carbohydrates for energy, muscle carbohydrate depletion is inevitable. Therefore a post-workout meal higher in carbohydrates is required to refill muscle carbohydrate/energy stores.

However any old amount of carbohydrates will not do. You need to consume enough carbohydrates to promote a substantial insulin release. Insulin is the hormone responsible for shuttling carbohydrates and amino acids into the muscle. In doing this, carbohydrate resynthesis is accelerated and protein balance becomes positive, leading to rapid repair of the muscle tissue.

Therefore, by consuming a larger amount of carbohydrates post workout, you will promote a large insulin release, increase glycogen storage, and increase protein repair.

In addition, since muscle protein is degraded during exercise, the addition of a relatively large amount of protein to your post exercise nutrition is necessary to help rebuild the structural aspects of the muscle. After exercise, the body decreases its rate of protein synthesis and increases its rate of protein breakdown. However, the provision of protein and amino acid solutions has been shown to reverse this trend, increasing protein synthesis and decreasing protein breakdown.

Finally, another important factor to consider is the timing of this meal. It is absolutely crucial that you consume your post-workout meal immediately after exercise. As indicated above, after exercise, the muscles are depleted and require an abundance of protein and carbohydrate. In addition, during this time, the muscles are biochemically “primed” for nutrient uptake.

This phenomenon is commonly known as the “window of opportunity”. Over the course of the recovery period, this window gradually closes and by failing to eat immediately after exercise, you diminish your chances of promoting full recovery. To illustrate how quickly this window closes, research has shown that consuming a post-exercise meal immediately after working out is superior to consuming one only 1 hour later.

In conclusion, when you decided to start exercising you decided to give up a specific amount of time per week in the interest of getting better, physically. However, if you haven’t spent the necessary time thinking about post-exercise nutrition, you’re missing much of the benefit that comes with exercising.

If you are yet to invest in a great post-workout protein, that’s your first step. I recommend WPI (whey protein isolate) or PPI (pea protein isolate) if you’re vegan as they are quick releasing and start working the SECOND they hit your system.

I assure you that once you start paying attention to this variable in the recovery equation, your time in the gym will be much better invested and you’ll hit #shredcity like it’s no one’s business!