Monday, March 2, 2009

2nd Most Important Meal of the Day-Post Workout Nutrition

By: Jason Yun
The second most important meal of the day—Post Training, or Post Game, Post-Practice, Post Workout, Post Activity. During activity the body is stressed physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your muscle glycogen stores (stored carbohydrate) in the muscle and the liver have been depleted. Even with the best pre-workout nutrition, depletion of glycogen levels and amino acid stores is inevitable. You are currently in state of catabolism (muscle and tissue breakdown). You need to switch off the catabolic state and turn on an anabolic one (muscle and tissue repair). The window to do this is not long. Various studies have shown it to be as little as 30 minutes, while others have shown it to be up to 90 minutes after activity. I tend to give a recommendation of 45 minutes, 60 minutes at the most. But the sooner you get the nutrients you need into the body, the faster the body can recover to a normal homeostasis.
Carbohydrate is the most important nutrient needed at this time. The carbs that you consume should be simple sugars. You want foods that will elevate your blood sugar level and get into the blood stream as quickly as possible to replenish the lost glycogen. Sports drinks will do the job, fruits, supplement carbohydrate drinks work well, too. Baked potato is an ok choice. Sugary cereal like frosted flakes, sugar smacks are ok too, especially combined with no- or very low fat milk. But remember the window for this meal is small so if you have to drive home and prepare this stuff you might miss that window.
You want this meal to be in a ratio of at least 2 to 1 carbohydrate to protein. The reason being is protein is harder to digest. Post workout is the best time to take a liquid supplement, like Prograde Workout, because it's pre-made with carbs and protein and liquid will digest a lot quicker than whole foods. Another good option is chocolate milk.
The protein you digest in this meal you also want to get in the bloodstream quickly. Again chocolate milk is a good option. Others are regular milk and a whey protein supplement, or a blended supplement, like Workout, as mentioned before. Whey is better than the other protein sources because it gets uploaded into the bloodstream and replenishes the amino acid pool much quicker than any other type. Whole protein foods aren't as good choices post-training, but if that's all that you have it is still much better than nothing. But stick with very lean or no fat choices like egg whites, chicken, turkey breast, and lean cuts of beef. However, if optimal recovery is your goal, I highly recommend a liquid form of carbohydrates and protein. Most of the time I do recommend whole foods over supplements, but liquids ensure that you get the proper nutrients in the right time.
As for fat, in the post-training meal, eliminate it. You do not want fat in this meal. Fat has the tendency to slow the absorption rate and digestion rate down, meaning it will take longer for the nutrients you need, carbs and protein, to reach their desired location. And it could even cause those nutrients to be less effective, or even miss the window of opportunity all together. Some fat is good-- some is bad. All fat is bad post-training time. Don't eat it!
As you can see this meal is very important. Second only to breakfast. It's just as important to people trying to lose fat, as it is to people trying to gain muscle mass, or strength, or compete in a sporting event. If you skip it, your body has to work extra hard to make up for the lost nutrients, especially carbohydrates and protein, that occurred during the workout. Your body doesn't like this extra work, and usually, if the workout was even moderately intense, won't come close to reaching 'pre-workout' state. So in essence everything slows down, your fat burning ability, your muscle building ability, and your metabolism.

About Author
Want to learn more about fat loss and metabolism, and pick yourself up a free fat loss report? Head over to
ason Yun is a certified sports nutritionist and strength and conditioning specialist. He is the owner of Yun Strength and Fitness Systems, LLC where is serves clients through fitness boot camps, sports, online and personal training, and nutritional classes. You can contact him via email at



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