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Post Exercise Nutrition
Proper post exercise nutrition, or knowing what to eat before and after a workout, is an absolute must to any weightlifter. Post exercise nutrition is at least as important as a good workout, and should be carefully constructed in order to maximize gains and enhance muscle recovery. Depending on the type of workout you do, post exercise nutrition will vary somewhat. If you are a bodybuilder, than the keys to a good nutrition plan are getting enough energy to get you through the workout, and more importantly, stuffing your muscles with nutrients afterwards.
Before the workout: Eat a meal high in protein primarily. Try to avoid fat and consume moderate amounts of carbohydrates, drink a lot of water, and bring a drink to the gym with you. Consume the bulk of this food about 45 minutes before the workout.
After the workout: A good whey protein drink immediately after the workout is the next step to a good plan. Make sure you take in 30-40g of protein. A lot of protein mixes come with only 20g per serving, so this means double the serving! Also, your body burned through a lot of its glycogen stores during the workout, and, more importantly, you need to spike your insulin, so make sure to take in plenty of carbohydrates high on the glycemic index. The easiest way to do this is with a good sports drink. I can hear the protests as I type this….yes, I said carbohydrates. Yes, they aren't even the "healthy" slow absorbing kind. Taking in adequate carbohydrates is crucial. I should honestly just write an article with only that sentence. If you want your muscles to grow they must get adequate protein. You absolutely need this spike in insulin to aid protein uptake, besides the other hormonal benefits the insulin spike will give you. Some carbohydrates after the workout won't make you fat. If you really care, do some interval training . Also, a couple of hours after the workout, don't forget to eat again. This time, make the meal lower in carbohydrates and slightly higher in fat. The meal should still be high in protein though. The higher fat level in this meal is to slow down the absorption of the protein. After the initial spike immediately following the workout, you want a steady supply for the hours afterward.
For strength training and power lifting, a similar plan will suffice. The only difference would be more calories before the workout. For pre and post nutrition for a cardio workout, less is more, especially if the goal is weight loss. If you are running for the sake of getting better at running, than you have come to the wrong place. If you are running to lose weight, get ripped, etc. than steer clear of food before and after the workout. Make sure to consume plenty of water though. Also, if you have glutamine, use it before and after the workout sparingly in order to preserve your muscle mass. Using glutamine will encourage your body to turn to its fat stores for energy, not its muscles.
Article by Andy Fairclough
Co-Founder and writer for www.allthatisfitness.com
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