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Why You Need Protein After a Workout

Discover why you need protein after your workout, and at the end of the article, you’ll find out the best source of protein you can add to your daily diet to build muscle and burn fat at the same time.

We’ve always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While that may be true, there is another meal that is a close second, if not a neck and neck tie. The post workout meal is imperative to your training and is a huge component in changing body composition and improving recovery.

It’s not enough to just grab whatever leftovers you may have in the fridge. The effectiveness of the post workout recovery meal is dependent upon the timing, type and quality of the food we refuel with.

Optimize growth and recovery

To put it in simple terms, when we work out, our muscles incur some damage and experience a breakdown. Although that may sound like a bad thing, it actually allows us the prime opportunity to grow and adapt.

Immediately following an intense workout, we are in a state of protein degradation. Due to the stress placed upon them during a workout, the muscles are crying out for replenishment immediately after. The 60-minute window of time following a training session is the golden opportunity to give them what they are asking for since during this time, the body is in a prime state to receive nourishment and use it appropriately.

By taking advantage of this timing we can increase protein synthesis and improve the physical results of our efforts.

Anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone, which promote protein synthesis, also experience a spike with intense exercise. By nourishing those muscles with protein and establishing a positive nitrogen balance we make the most out of those precious few hours.

The rules of post workout protein consumption

Due to the short time frame of optimum opportunity, it is highly recommended to feed your body within one-hour post workout. If you are able to get nourishment 5 minutes after, that’s even better. Ideally your body would absorb the required nutrients within that 60-minute time frame to reap the full benefits of the post workout meal. This is when a high quality whey protein comes in handy.

Liquids are absorbed and utilized much faster than solid food. Since whey protein is a complete, well-balanced protein it is a perfect, convenient option for part of a post workout liquid meal.

By adding a carbohydrate, you will activate an insulin release, aiding in the shuttle of protein to the muscles. For an easy, readily available recovery meal simply blend a high quality whey protein with a piece of fruit, and milk or ice water. This will allow you the balance of protein and carbs in a liquid form that will do the job fast.

Whatever you choose to consume for post workout nutrition, be sure to avoid fat. While healthy fats certainly have their place in a balanced diet, immediately after a workout is not the time. Fat will slow digestion considerably and as mentioned, you need those nutrients to be absorbed as soon as possible. Save the fat for a later meal.

How much protein do you need?

Keep in mind that although you need protein, especially after a workout, you don’t need an excessive amount. Protein carries 4 calories per gram so ingesting more than is required will not lead to better results, it will only lead to excess calories, which carry over into excess fat.

Studies have shown that the body seems to tap out at about 20 to 30 grams of protein per sitting. There is no need to go beyond that 30 grams and doing so can actually do more harm than good. We simply cannot process any more than that at one time so it ends up being a counter productive waste.

An equal amount of 20 to 30 grams each of protein and carbs is a great way to ensure that insulin levels will rise sufficiently in order to transport that precious protein to the muscles and optimize recovery, growth and strength.

Your best source of protein after training is whey protein.

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Never underestimate the importance of good nutrition in your fitness program. Exercise, nutrition and adequate rest are all crucial components when it comes to fitness. You simply can’t have one without the others. Keeping your routine challenging and well rounded is the key to achieving the physique you desire.