Thursday, 11 October 2007

The 30 minute post-weight workout window

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As a follow-up to a great post just written by Bethany Sanders here at ThatsFit, I wanted to further emphasize the significant role the post-weight workout meal plays.

It's important to realize that when you lift weights, your body is stretching and tearing muscle fibers. This may seem like a bad thing at first blush, but make no mistake, it's the process by which your muscles initiate hypertrophy (growth). One of the most vital parts to making this happen is feeding your muscles what they need right after your workout. And by right after, I mean RIGHT after. For the most part, you have a window of about 30 minutes after your weight lifting to eat your post-workout meal, or else your body may actually become catabolic (a situation where you actually lose muscle).

Does what you eat matter? Absolutely. Unlike any other part of the day, you need some simple, high glycemic index ranked sugars right after a weight workout. This is because your body requires immediate sustenance in order to begin rebuilding. Also, it is equally as important that you consume an adequate amount of protein right after a weight workout -- preferably whey.

One thing you do want to avoid right after a weight training workout is fat of any kind. Although nuts, avocados, olive oil and flax seed oil and other healthy fats should be part of your daily diet, they should not be consumed during your post-weight workout meal. Fats slow the absorption of carbohydrates and protein, which works against your goal of almost instant replenishment during this post-weight workout window.

Some great choices for a post-weight training meal include: a slice of white bread with a teaspoon of jelly + a whey protein shake mixed with water, a sports drink such as Gatorade and a fist-sized portion of grilled chicken or fish, or simply purchase any number of post-workout meal replacement shakes, such as EAS's Myoplex.

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