Post workout nutrition can make or break your lean muscle gains, and sadly most guys really screw this meal up. There are so many rules you need to follow for the perfect post workout meal.
The goal of the post workout meal is to maximize recovery and shut down your most catabolic hormone (cortisol), which is elevated after a really intense workout.
A few things are going on after you finish a workout that are vital to understand so you can implement the proper post workout nutrition.
- Your cortisol hormones are elevated and need to be shut down so you can enter the “anabolic zone” and make some gains!
- Your body is starving for carbohydrates because you just broke down a ton of “glycogen” – which are stored carbohydrates in your muscles. You need to replenish this muscle glycogen by consuming carbohydrates.
- Your body is starving for amino acids that will fuel protein synthesis and set the stage for muscle growth and recovery.
So with all of this being said we are going to tackle these issues with a very precise combination of ingredients.
We have about 90 minutes following a resistance training workout to really capitalize on blunting cortisol levels, replenishing muscle glycogen, and maximizing muscle recovery.
We are going to ingest a nice combination of:
- High quality protein
- Simple carbohydrates
- Vitamin C
And most importantly we are going to stay away from foods that are going to block the absorption of our high quality protein and carbohydrates.
Many foods that you would normally deem as healthy are going to be big no-no’s during your post workout window.
These “health foods” that you should stay away from immediately following your workout are fiber and fat.
Fiber and fat are going to reduce the insulin spike and prevent those speedy carbohydrates from shuttling amino acids into your cells rapidly.
Foods like avocado, almonds, olive oil, flax seeds, and chia seeds are all very healthy – but are loaded with fat and this is not what we want post workout.
High fiber foods such as broccoli and green beans are also going to be big no-no’s as they are going to lower the insulin impact.
You are about to find out why this is a really bad thing to do if you are serious about building muscle mass.
Do you know what the most anabolic hormone in your body is? The magic answer is insulin following an intense resistance training workout! That is why we are going to hit the simple carbohydrates hard following a resistance training workout.
I actually consume about 60 percent of my daily carbohydrates in the post workout window following a resistance training workout.
Simple carbohydrates are going to shuttle amino acids into your cells, spike your insulin, and result in a powerful positive nitrogen retention.
Believe it or not the perfect post workout carbohydrates are going to be “speedy carbs” that have a really high glycemic index.
Although these foods are normally not meant to be eaten on a “bodybuilding diet” they are going to give you the maximum insulin spike and help to shuttle amino acids into your cells and replenish your muscle glycogen.
My personal favorite choice for post workout carbohydrates are Gatorade, gummy bears, low fat frozen yoghurt, sweet potatoes, and white rice.
You got to live a little bit with your post workout carbs! It’s literally the one time of the day where you can sit back and eat gummy bears and build muscle!
My favorite hack to get about 120 carbohydrates of post workout carbs in very quickly is drinking a bottle of Gatorade and having about 1 cup of Haribo gummy bears.
I recently starting mixing orange Gatorade with my vanilla protein powder to make an “Orange Creamsicle” post workout shake. Absolutely delicious!
Your protein choice following a workout should be a fast digesting whey protein powder immediately following the workout, and then switching to a lean and high quality form of protein shortly after such as fish, chicken, or lean beef.
How many carbohydrates are ideal for growth? The answer varies – so let’s dive in and take a look.
How Many Post Workout Carbs Should You Have?
The amount of carbohydrates you have in the 90-minute post workout window is really crucial. There are a few crucial things you need to consider. If you are really trying to stay lean and drop body fat you need to hit the perfect ratio of enough carbs to spike your insulin, but not so many calories that you are going to store body fat.
If your main goal is to cut body fat and maintain lean muscle mass, you are going to want to consume about 0.5 grams of carbohydrates for every 1 lb. of bodyweight in the 90-minute time frame following a resistance training workout.
If you are a super hard-gainer and you want to hit those lean muscle gains effortlessly you want to bump up that carbohydrate total to about 1 gram of speedy carbs per 1 lb. of bodyweight.
If you are a 200 lb. guy like myself this means that you should be eating about 200 grams of carbohydrates in the 90-minute post workout window.
This may seem like a lot but with a nice combination of Gatorade and gummy bears you will fill up this total quickly.
My perfect post workout nutrition combo is the following:
Immediately following my workout:
- 50 grams of carbs from orange Gatorade, 40 grams of whey protein
- 50 grams of carbohydrates on my drive home from the gym (Haribo Gummy Bears)
- 45 minutes after my workout: 60-80 grams of carbohydrates from white rice or sweet potatoes paired with 40 grams of protein from high quality.
And that’s it my dude! Follow this protocol and I can promise you will see some radical lean muscle gains. Make sure that you pack in as many post workout carbohydrates as possible if you want to make some fast lean muscle gains.
Remember, insulin is your best friend following a beast mode workout!