What To Eat After A Weightlifting Workout?

September 29, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

post-weightlifiting-workout-meal

Back in the days of athletic training, my coach used to drum it into our heads that we had to eat a good meal packed with protein, carbs and fat (yes… you do need fat), but no less then 2 hours before the training session. The reason for this is because eating heavy foods takes time to digest and by the time it has digested, the body would be ready to use the new energy. This would be food such as,

Protein

  • Egg
  • Chicken
  • Tuna Fish

Carbs

  • Brown Bread
  • Rice

However, there was many a time that I broke this 2 hour rule, and I suffered for it. The key word here is ‘vomit’, and you don’t want to do that while you are at the gym. But everyone has been asking what to eat for a post workout meal, and again, the Bug is here to help answer that.

For quite some time I would always follow the rule above and eat a very good meal before my workout, work my muscles hard and eat hardly anything afterwards. That seemed to work for me, and doing that didn’t affect my muscle building results. But one day I took some advice from a fellow gym goer and stated that I should eat something after my workout.

But what to eat?

Well, there are two things we need to state first.

1) You need to drink water (which you should already be doing)

2) You must NOT eat any fatty foods

Earlier I stated that you do need fat in your diet, which is true, but this is bad to include in a post workout meal.

Why?

Because fat slows down digestion, and in the case of a post workout meal, it would be slowing down the digestion of protein and carbs and these are the key things your body will need. In fact you can help speed up that digestion by eating Pineapple and papaya. This has proven to be a good source for speeding up the digestion of protein.

pineappap

The second thing we need to state is,

How soon should you eat after the workout?

Well you need to eat straight after your workout. That is, the moment you put the dumbbells down….

Ok not as soon as that, that is a bit extreme. But for your body to benefit the most from a post workout meal, it should be 30 minutes (1 hour max) after your workout. I personally go to my local restaurant/cafe, as they have just what I need for a perfect post workout meal, and I get to relax properly, read a magazine or what ever (You should too).

Ok, I will do that, but stop keeping me in suspense. What food should I eat?

Now, we know that your body needs… proteins and carbs (but not the heavy stuff) and doesn’t need fat (as that slows digestion too).

The type of protein you should take is Whey protein. For those who don’t know what that is, Whey protein is a powder supplement that you can take to fill your body with the protein nutrients that it would lack after a workout. Whey protein is also the fastest digesting protein there is, and the best way to consume it would be to mix it with a liquid such as milk or water.

Once it becomes a liquid you would now have a protein shake and it would naturally make it quicker to digest than solid food. This is the reason why Whey protein has become so popular in recent years as it is the source of a great post workout meal.

100 whey gold standard

How much to take?

0.15-0.25 grams of protein (per pound) of your body weight. So a 175lb person (my bodyweight) would go for 26-43 grams (1.5 scoops) a time. As some of you might know, I’ve been using Optimum Nutrition Whey protein for the past 2 years, so that’s what I recommend (you can see my Gold Standard wWhey Protein verdict here).

Carbs

Before I dive into the type of carbs that you need, you first need to understand that you will need to have carbs in your diet if you plan to build muscle. Without carbs in your system your body may actually start to break down your muscles rather than build them up (Now we don’t want that now… do we). Carbs also help move nutrients to your muscles quickly too.

With carbs we also need to avoid the heavy foods, those of which I mentioned earlier, quite simply because they take long to digest. Instead what you need to eat is sugar, just sugar!

That might actually sound a bit crazy, and generally not a smart thing to do, but this is the post workout meal so you can be excused if anyone see’s you eating spoonful’s of sugar.

The type of sugar you should take is one called Dextrose, and like Whey protein, it has become a people’s favourite for the post workout meal. I’ve not yet written about my use of Dextrose yet, but I will do soon. Just know that is what you need to mix along with your Whey protein shake that you would have created earlier.

How much to take?

Between 0.25-0.4 grams of carbs (per pound) of your body weight from Dextrose (a 175lb person would shoot for between 40-70 grams)

There really is nothing trivial about the post workout meal, but that is the type of meal you should take after your workouts, and if I stumble upon any other great combinations in the coming weeks/ months, I’ll be sure to le you know.

Have you tried this blend before?

If so, how did it work for you?

See you in the comments.

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