Did you know that eating fats post workout can affect your gains and reduce nutrient absorption? Although fat is a vital component of any bodybuilder’s diet, it should be avoided before and after exercise. Nutrient timing is essential to building muscle and getting ripped. The perfect post workout meal should include lean protein and fast digesting carbs. Fat can slow the digestion of carbs and protein, and blunt growth hormone levels.
Many gym goers, especially newbies, don’t know what to eat after a workout. If that’s your case, keep two words in mind: protein and carbs.
Avoid Fats Post Workout to Recover Faster
After exercise, you need protein and simple carbs to replenish glycogen stores and support muscle repair. These nutrients will feed hungry muscles and help them grow. It’s important to eat enough carbs to promote a substantial insulin release and refill muscle energy stores. Dietary fat can slow the digestion and absorption of protein and carbohydrates, affecting muscle recovery time.
A study conducted on bodybuilders has shown that eating fats post workout reduced their growth hormone (GH) levels by more than half of what they were when they fasted or ate high-carb foods. At the same time, their levels of somatostatin were higher. This hormone inhibits GH release. For this reason, it’s recommended to keep your fat intake under five grams, or avoid it altogether before and after working out.
Keep your fat intake under five grams pre and post workout.
What to Eat after a Workout?
Wonder what to eat after a workout to speed up muscle growth and repair? Make sure your post workout meal includes fast digesting protein and simple carbs. For optimal results, have a protein shake with dextrose or other simple sugars. If you’re cutting, stick to protein only. Consider adding glutamine or creatine to your shake. Have your next meal within two or three hours.
Some bodybuilders prefer to eat right after working out. In this case, opt for protein and fast-digesting sugars to spike insulin levels. The goal of your post workout meal is to:
• Reduce muscle fatigue
• Increase protein synthesis
• Reduce muscle protein breakdown
• Replenish muscle and liver glycogen stores
• Replace lost electrolytes
• Promote muscle growth and repair
• Support the immune system to handle the damage
It’s essential to choose foods that are easy to digest. Protein shakes come in liquid form, so they are easily absorbed into the body. In general, liquid meals are better for nutrient targeting. If you want to have a complete meal, opt for simple foods like chicken and white rice or potatoes, tuna and beans, egg white omelette and veggies, or beef and quinoa.
Since the body’s cells are more receptive within the first 30 minutes after exercise, eat as soon as possible after working out. Take advantage of the so-called “anabolic window” to maximize muscle growth and reduce catabolism. Opt for simple meals that fit into your daily macros and provide fast digesting nutrients. Don’t use your workouts as an excuse to pig out and have a feast.
References: J.P. Cappon et al., “Acute effects of high fat and high glucose meals on the growth hormone response to exercise,” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
“Recovery Nutrition.” Sports Dieticians Australia. June 2012