You may not know this but there is a window of opportunity every day that you strength train. During that window, your muscles are very open to reap the benefits of what you feed them. They absorb protein and nutrients like crazy during this short period and it is by far the most important meal of the day for anyone interested in real muscle building.
The time frame I am speaking of is between the end of your workout and about half of an hour later. During this short but important time, you can jam more muscle building protein into your muscles than any other time of the day.
This is the main reason why your post workout meal is so important. It is actually a critical step in your strength training routine. Your muscles are screaming for food and this is the critical time you should be feeding them fuel that is full of what they need to build strength and recover. Remember, your muscles actually build when they are recovering not when you are tearing them down while working out.
This is the one meal of the day that fats are not important, so you don’t have to worry about getting some good quality fats in the meal. Fats will slow down digestion and this is the reason we want to avoid them post-workout. The goal for post-workout nutrition is to get the nutrients to your body the fastest, so we want to make sure we choose the right solution that has the quickest digestion.
I usually like to have a shake for this meal. This is because a shake is liquid and you will have an empty stomach after your workout. This will allow the liquid to pass through your stomach and into your bloodstream in literally minutes. If you decide to eat a meal consisting of food, you are really wasting valuable time during digestion. Remember, the faster the digestion, the quicker the nutrients will get to your muscles!
In this shake you should generally have a whey protein supplement. Whey protein is a great source of fast acting protein and is generally considered better than others because of its ease of digestion and speed it gets into the body’s blood stream.
The second thing that really works well for muscle building and strength training is creatine. Creatine is a fantastic supplement! it works by getting absorbed by your muscles and increases the amount of water retained by the muscle which increases the muscle’s volume. It also decreases lactic acid build up in your muscles. By taking creatine, you will not get that pain during strength training quite as early. It will let you push harder and let you recover faster. Both whey protein and creatine are hugely important factors when trying to build lean muscle mass.
Your post workout meal is by far the most important meal in the day. Don’t throw away huge potential gains by forgetting about this meal. Give your muscles what they need and give it to them quickly. Your body will be happy you did. You will be happy when you look in the mirror and see some extra muscle packed onto your frame.
Don’t forget the value of a good high quality protein supplement and creatine supplement. These are both very important to lock in those gains and help you during your recovery time. Keep your workouts intense and give your muscles what they need once you are done. This is by far the best way to truly achieve your desired results.