Many guys sabotage their workouts simply by what they consume afterwards. Some feel like since they’ve done all the hard work by going to the gym that they can reward themselves with a slice of pizza and a soft drink. This is a recipe for disaster.
When your body is depleted, it needs nutrition, including protein and hydration as soon as possible. Resistance training increases amino acid delivery to muscles as well as absorption, so the sooner you consume protein post-workout, the bigger stimulation in muscle protein synthesis.
Within 1 hour of finishing your workout it is important to get a solid dose of protein to help rebuild and repair muscles, says Dr. Jeff Volek, a nutrition and exercise researcher at the University of Connecticut.
Your post-workout snack should provide you with a balance of carbs and protein, ensuring that you have at least 20g of quality protein. Why 20? One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pinpointed 20 grams as the best amount of post-workout protein to maximise muscle growth.
Some examples of easy post-workout snacks include yoghurt with muesli and fruit or lean chicken and salad roll. For a more convenient option there are protein drinks such as the new Sanitarium PBTM, that contains 32g of protein and being a ready-to-drink beverage, it’s easy to consume straight after your workout.
We know that protein help build muscle, but what’s the science behind it?
Enzymes in your stomach and intestines break apart the protein in the peptides – combinations of amino acids, aka your body’s building blocks. Other enzymes dice the peptides into individual amino acids. The amino acids travel from your GI tract to your liver, and then into your blood stream for delivery to your muscles.
Your muscles are essentially bundles of protein fibres. Hitting the gym or playing sports causes micro tears in the fibres that signal your immune system to send a work crew: growth hormones and repair material.
Your DNA acts as a construction foreman: it calls up specific amino acids, directs their deployment and assigns their roles. The work crew uses the fresh supply of amino acids to get into action, to repair and gain muscle mass.
If you aren’t consuming protein after you exercise as part of your overall recovery plan, you might just be shooting yourself, your recovery and your overall fitness goals in the foot.