Bodybuilding for Your body goes into a peculiar state immediately after a workout. Your muscles are fatigued, your carbohydrate levels are low, and your tissue goes into an intense catabolic state that can last for hours and days.
For bodybuilding workouts, the food youngest immediately following a workout has a large impact on how your muscles repair themselves in the days and weeks following your lift. Taking advantage of this nutritional window can increase your gains and speed up recovery time.
The key lies in knowing how your body works.
After all exercise the state of your body has three common denominators:
- Glycogen stores are low
- Muscle catalysis is increased
- Protein balance is negative
Glycogen is the fuel your muscles use during bodybuilder workouts exercise and is typically depleted after 45-60 minutes of intense activity. Catalysis is the breakdown of tissue, which is the whole point of lifting weights, so they can repair themselves and become stronger. Protein balance is the ratio of protein synthesis to protein breakdown. Because your body enters a catabolic state during exercise and resistance training causes muscle tissue to breakdown, the rate of muscle breakdown is always greater than muscle regeneration during and immediately after exercise.
With that in mind, optimal post-workout nutrition needs to counter-act these effects. How is this done?
It’s actually simple.
To counter-act glycogen depletion the body needs an injection of carbs to re-energize the muscles. Leucine-rich protein is needed to reverse muscle catalysis. What’s more, carbohydrates and protein eaten together stimulate an insulin response within the body, which allows the body go into a muscle-building state.
According to nutritional biochemist John Berardi, the ideal ratio of carbs to protein is 2:1. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three meals that satisfy this criteria.
Chicken, Rice, and Mixed Vegetables
A chicken breast is a great source of lean protein for workouts, and also contains high amounts of iron, zinc, and B vitamins, an important nutrient for regulating metabolism. Brown rice eaten with the chicken will provide a healthy dose of carbs while adding more nutritional value than white rice since its unprocessed coat gives it more fiber, magnesium, and phosphorus.
A can of tuna fish has long been the bodybuilder’s best friend. And for good reason. The cheap snack consists almost entirely of protein and one can will usually net you more than 30 grams.Put on top of whole grain bread with some lettuce, tomato, and onion gives youa well-balanced snack with an almost perfect carb/protein mix for your workouts.
Unlike its distant cousin the french fry, a baked potato is an excellent source of long-chain carbohydrates, folate, vitamin Cand magnesium.
Given the fragile state of your body after a workout, it’s important to get the little things right. Eating a meal promptly after your workout with a healthy blend of carbs and protein will ensure you’re maximizing your body’s healing abilities and your ability to get back into the gym.
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