The correct nutrition will see you through to better performance, recovery and results. Our body is a pretty incredible and sophisticated machine and a bit of strategy can go a long way.
How does a workout affect your body?
During the workout
– The rate of ATP turnover goes up (what your body uses for fuel). As the workout goes on your body will start to mine the stored energy (glycogen and other nutrients) from your muscles and liver as well as your bloodstream for other available nutrients.
-Your heart rate goes up to meet the demands for oxygen enriched blood to reach tissues.
– Hormones such as dopamine and adrenaline are released in greater supply.
-If it is a particularly intense workout your body may enter into a sympathetic (fight or flight) state. This is your nervous system amping up giving you a burst of energy.
Immediately after the workout, you may feel a sense of depletion as:
-Metabolic by-products build up, ATP turnover slows down, nutrients such as glycogen are in less supply from your liver and muscles.
-Your central nervous system (the governing rule of your body) initiates a coordinated response with your muscles to lose intensity, to essentially calm down so the rebuild can begin.
-Your immune system will be briefly depressed (before the workout ultimately boosts it for the better.)
-Micro-damage to muscles and other tissues that includes the breakdown of protein has ensued.
-Inflammatory hormones (a certain amount is good and necessary for recovery) are released to deal with the cellular damage.
Post Workout Nutrition Aims to:
– Replenish glycogen
-Decrease protein breakdown
-Increase protein synthesis
– You can top up energy stores
-Increase the size and/ or quality of your muscle
-Repair any damage caused by the workout.
Post Workout for Muscle Gain and Maximising Performance
Protein in general is over hyped but when resistance training your needs are certainly increased as you are breaking down muscle and need those amino acids. You want a protein source with a good variety of amino acids but especially the amino acid leucine is best. Regardless of when you trained however, protein synthesis is maximised between 5am and 10am. As mentioned before, when you max out your protein intake your body will go through the unpleasant work of converting it into glucose (via gluconeogenesis) which will have negative affects on your energy levels and recovery. Further to this, if you are spending all your calories on protein you have fewer left for carbs and fats which as you have read play critical roles in your hormonal function, performance and recovery.
Aim for 20-40g post workout but try to get most of your protein in the earlier hours of the day if muscle building is your goal
The role of fats:
– Assisting the bodies anti-inflammatory response and repair processes by consuming high quality fats, rich in omega 3s and MCTs. Salmon and grass fed meats offer the highest levels of these, mackerel, coconut oil, walnuts, flaxseeds and walnuts make lesser but still great contributions.
-For performance you don’t need much fat though you do need enough to sustain optimal testosterone production (females too) aim for at least 20% of your macro split to be geared towards fats.
Will replenish your muscle glycogen. Glycogen being the usable source of fuel that your body gets from breaking down carbohydrates.
Glycogen saturation happens in a 24h window but is enhanced in the 90 minutes post workout. “Hard gainers” may especially find this helps in preventing their bodies metabolising their muscle if the workout is particularly long or intense. Carbs will also support insulin’s role of shuttling nutrients around they body to where they are most needed. The insulin response from carbohydrates will also work as a shut off valve to cortisol (stress hormone) to assist your bodies transition into a parasympathetic state (recovery mode.)
50% of your day’s total carbohydrates or at least 30g after your workout will do the trick.
High intensity training bouts that last beyond 90 minutes could call for the ingestion of around 30g liquid carbohydrates during to improve performance and save muscle. Look for brands that offer a mixture of maltodextrin, glucose and dextrose
If You Are Training For Fat Loss
Strategy doesn’t matter as much as caloric deficit.
What matters more is the quality and quantity of the nutrition. You still want to be getting adequate protein and carbs post workout as well as the above mentioned healthy, anti-inflammatory fats. Supporting muscle growth will improve metabolic markers and support weight loss so you still want to tick these boxes. Just be aware that essentially what matters more is a caloric deficit.
In saying that, there are still a couple useful strategies for leaning up…
Including 20 mins of cardio after weight training to lean up.
If you can tolerate them fasted workouts will encourage your body to tap into stored andipose(fat) tissue rather than more readily available nutrients from recently eaten meals.
Some go to macro-friendly snacks and smart swaps
– Eggs (boiled or poached rather than fried or scrambled)
– Mixing your protein shake with water rather than milk
– Roasted pumpkin rather than rice or sweet potato
– Protein porridge
– Use your hand as a guide for portion control, eat slowly and mindfully.
If you would like your own customised meal plan, get in contact and let’s get started!