Whether you are trying to lose fat, gain muscle, or maintain your current physique, nutrient timing can be a tool to help you push past plateaus and make a difference if you have been seeing any thus far. Today, I want to go over post-workout nutrition and what that looks like for Brandon, myself, and our clients.
So, what is a “post-workout meal,” and what is the purpose of post-workout nutrition?
The reason the post-workout phase is called the “anabolic phase” has to do with the “building” (or even “rebuilding”) of something. Quite simply, your post-workout meal is the meal that plays the most significant role in supplying your body with everything it will need to repair, replenish, recover and adapt to the training stimulus that you just provided during your workout.
Specifically, the goal of the POST workout meal is to accomplish the following:
Replenish muscle glycogen that was depleted during your workout.
Reduce muscle protein breakdown caused by exercise.
Increase muscle protein synthesis.
Reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.
Greatly enhance overall recovery.
Reduce cortisol levels.
What does an ideal post-workout meal look like?
To make all of the above happen successfully, your body once again needs two things: carbs and protein. Here are some of my favorite post-workout protein/carb combo suggestions:
Carbs: Brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta, banana, oatmeal, and quinoa. Again these are suggestions. For someone trying to lose body fat, I would say you want to consume 25-30% of your daily carbohydrate intake post-workout, while someone who is bulking should aim for 50-100g of carbohydrates post-workout.
Protein: Chicken, salmon, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or protein powder. I shoot for 30-40g of protein after a workout.
Fats are very slow-digesting and the most calorie-dense macronutrient; therefore, they take almost double the amount of time to digest than protein or carbs. Whenever you add fat to any meal, you are slowing the digestion of your meal down. Keeping fat under 10g post-workout will ensure that the nutrients we consume arrive much faster to replenish and restore.
A protein shake, rice cakes, or a banana are easy for me because I am on the go after my workouts.
I try to eat my post-workout meal 30 minutes - 2 hours after my workout is complete. This time window is ideal, but don’t get too hung up on it. I recommend doing your best to get something nutrient-dense and restorative (clean protein/carbs) within that 2-hour window.
A couple of other things to note: Branch chain amino acids are SO helpful to consume post-workout, and here’s why: BCAAs contain three primary amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids send various signals to our bodies to begin the repair and rebuild process. Consuming just 5-10g of BCAA immediately after your last set can help make you more anabolic and less sore. Our EAAs contain all three vital BCAA’s and taste AMAZING.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated after your workout and all day. During training sessions, our body can lose electrolytes and hydration through sweat and depletion, so it is crucial to restoring your muscles to keep yourself adequately hydrated post-workout.
Questions about post-workout meals? Ask me on my latest IG post!