The Athlete

Maximising Caloric Efficiency - A complete anabolic study

PART THREE - POST WORKOUT NUTRITION

Fitness Home

If you have been following the preceding articles in this series you will now know how to structure your food intake through the day, your water needs and how to eat prior to your workout in order to maximise performance. We will now look at post-workout nutrition for

The post workout period represents a short term opportunity to increase nutrient uptake that can not be matched at any other time. Post workout your glycogen stores are depleted, muscle tissue is damaged, your amino acid uptake will increase etc. In short your body is like a sponge primed to absorb and utilise nutrients. You can maximise this enhanced nutrient uptake potential by taking advantage of the hormone insulin. Insulin acts to shuttle nutrients in to cells, and most of the time we want to keep insulin levels low in order to provide a slow drip of carbs in to muscle cells and avoid any "spill over" of calories in to body fat. However, post workout your muscle cells are far more sensitive to the action of insulin that at any other time. For this reason it is possible to spike insulin levels and drive nutrients in to muscle tissue while not having to worry about body fat deposition.

In order to increase insulin release your post workout meal will emphasise simple carbs with a high Glycemic Index (GI). This is the only time you should consume large amounts of high GI carbs as at other times the insulin response is more likely to lead to body fat deposition than enhanced nutrient uptake. Carbs with a high glycemic index are easily and cheaply found, I recommend you use a simple glucose powder that you can buy from any chemists or health food store for pennies or one of the commercial post workout mixes that are available. At a push you can use whole foods that are high GI such as corn flakes or even table sugar but this is not ideal so I will use the Glucose powder in my own examples. For amounts I use a simple rule of 1 gram of simple carbs per kilo of lean bodyweight. If you don't know you lean mass and body fat level then use 0.85g / kilo of bodyweight. For alternative is to simply divide up your daily carbohydrate needs and take 20% of them in the post workout meal.

Your next consideration post workout is getting protein in order to begin rebuilding your damaged muscles. The most efficient way to do this is by using a fast absorbed protein such as Whey in combination with the Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine. If you use whey alone then go for around .33 to .5 grams per kilo bodyweight. So a 100Kg athlete would take 33 - 50 grams of whey post workout. If you add BCAA then follow this need table in order to get the amounts you should add to the whey post workout.

BW in KG

Leucine

Valine

Isoleucine

40

1.5

1

0.5

50

1.5

1.5

0.5

60

2

1.5

0.5

70

2.5

2

1

80

2.5

2

1

90

3

2.5

1

100

3

2.5

1

110

3.5

3

1.5

If you use creatine monohydrate then this is an opportune time to maximise their uptake, so add them to the mix. For most athletes 5g creatine will be fine. You now have a powder of glucose, whey, BCAA, and creatine monohydrate that you will need to consume, so mix it well with about a litre of water and send it down the hatch. That's meal 4 taken care of.

If you have followed the recommendations for anti-oxidant intake in the pre-workout meal then there should be no need for further anti-oxidants immediately post workout. Obviously it makes better sense to have high levels of anti-oxidants in the body DURING the time of greatest oxidative stress (the workout) than it does to wait until after the workout when essentially the damage is already done. Around 90 minutes after the post workout shake you should have a normal meal of mixed proteins, low GI carbs and a small amount of fats from Flax or Olive oils. As always this meal should be based on sound principles of caloric efficiency involving mixtures of foods designed to maximise nutrient uptake along with targeted supplemental nutrients. For me this means taking a serving of Colloidal Mineral in my water with this meal.

So far this series of articles has covered pre and post workout nutrition, hydration, structuring daily food intake and has touched on food combinations and targeted supplementation. In part four I will provide tables of nutrient dense foods and food combinations that can be used for specific purposes along with supplemental nutrients to maximise your training ability.

- The Athlete.org

Back to top