Working hard in the gym to build muscles is of course very important for sculpting your dream physique, but without proper nutrition, you definitely will not be able to reach your goals. Your body and your muscles need proper food to refuel, regain energy and successfully recover and grow after a hard workout session. So following our previous article on what to eat before hitting the gym for lifting weights, here are some basic rules and tips for what kind of foods you should be eating after your strength training workouts.
So first of all, why is it important to pay attention to your nutrition after training and choose your post-workout meal carefully? During training, you basically drain your energy storages, which need to be refilled and tear your muscle tissues which need to be repaired – but for these your body needs fuel: the appropriate macronutrients and supplements.
When reading about fitness, eating healthy and good nutrition in general, the articles probably mostly warn you to avoid simple carbs at all cost, because due to their lower GI, they cause an insulin spike – which is not ideal if you want to get or stay in shape. This is true, however, post-workout conditions are different. Consuming simple carbs means that your body doesn’t need a long time to digest and break down the nutrients, so it can replenish its glycogen storages in the muscles that got drained during training much faster. The insulin-spike caused by the simple carbs will boost your muscle growth and recovery!
Fruits are typically good source of simple carbs, but you can also go for one of those protein bars that have a little higher sugar content – it’s in there for a reason, but you have to earn it first!
You can intake protein from a lot of different food sources, however, for the sake of the faster absorption –and so that you don’t have to consume a huge amount of food for the protein content that would make your stomach feel heavy and uncomfortable after a workout- we recommend drinking a protein shake within an hour after finishing up your workout, preferably Whey Protein, as one serving usually contains around 20-25 grams of protein.
Whey is the protein that’s separated from the curd in the production of cheese. Protein shakes made of whey concentrate are rather low on fat and lactose –though it still has lactose, so keep that in mind!- and have an amino-acid profile high in BCAAs (branch-chain amino acids) which makes it suitable for a post-workout protein source. If you are not intolerant, but are looking for a product with minimal lactose content and basically no fat and more than 90% protein content, choose Whey Protein Isolate!
But if you are vegetarian, vegan or lactose intolerant and want to stay away from consuming products originating from animal sources, you don’t need to worry, the market today has a lot of great options for you! There are plenty of plant-based (mostly soy or pea) proteins available or you can just grab a Probar BASE bar that provides 20 grams of plant protein and plenty of real, recognizable ingredients. And it does more than build your strength—it boasts chia and flax seeds to keep you going strong.
Hopefully these tips will help you get the most out of your strength training sessions – look out for nutrition tips for cardio workouts soon!